Algún, Alguno & Algunos in Spanish – Uses & Differences


There are a lot of cases where you’ll have one word (or several similar ones) in English that actually have multiple words that represent it in Spanish, depending on the context and situations. This also applies viceversa. One common instance of this is with the words ‘any’, ‘one’, ‘some’ and ‘few’, which in Spanish will translate into ‘algún’, ‘alguno’ or ‘algunos’. Fun, right?

What’s the main difference between ‘algún’, ‘alguno’ and ‘algunos’? Algún is translated as ‘any’, ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘some’ and it goes before a noun. Algunos means ‘some’. Alguno can be a pronoun and it means ‘one’. We also use it to build phrases such as ‘one of’ or ‘any of’. 

While that is the formal difference between these highly similar words, it helps to see them used in real world applications and situations. Especially if you’re not one for grammar! 

There are also some nuances and rules to be aware of when using each. Here is a quick breakdown of them side by side:

Uses & Meanings Algún Alguno Algunos
Some
Talking about indefinite things
YES YES YES
A/An
To precede a singular, masculine noun
YES NONO
As a Pronoun
It can replace either a singular or plural
NO YES YES
Any
It can be used to talk or ask about an indefinite object or group of people
YES YES NO

In this article, we’re going to look at each of them and also compare them to give you a complete overview and understanding of them. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Then, we will discuss them together ‘Alguno’ vs ‘Algún’:

We will continue onto:

And finally, we are going to look at all three together to see a summary at the end, recap what we’ve learned and get a bird’s eye view.

By the end of this article, we should be able to clearly identify which to use correctly given the context, conversation we’re having and how we’re structuring our phrases. You’ll have all the necessary information and rules to start having conversations and practicing all three words.

Algún – Meanings & Uses

Definition Algún is a Spanish indefinite determiner, as a result, it always goes before a singular, masculine noun. Depending on the context, ‘algún’ can be translated as ‘any’, ‘a’, ‘an’ or ‘some’. Alguna is its femine form. Although they share the same meanings,  alguna only works with singular, feminine nouns. 

What Does ‘Algún’ Mean?

  • Translation #1:  Depending on the context, can be translated as ‘a’ or ‘an. 
  • Translation #2:  It also means ‘any’. 
  • Translation #3:  In some contexts, algún or alguna mean ‘some’. 

How and When to use ‘Algún’?

1. As a synonym of ‘a’ and ‘an’

As established earlier, algún and alguna are used when talking about indeterminate things. This means that we’re not giving any specific information about the person or object we’re talking about. 

Keep in mind that these Spanish words are singular and, as a result, they always work with singular nouns. Here are some examples that will help you understand these words better.  

Examples

Algún + singular masculine noun

¿Buscas algún libro en especial?
Are you looking for a particular book?

¿Tienes algún conocido que hable español?
Do you have an acquaintance that speaks Spanish?

Alguna + singular feminine noun

Carla debe tener alguna falda que te combine
Carla must have a skirt that matches with your clothes

¿Deberíamos llevar alguna botana o botella de vino?
Should we bring a snack or a bottle of wine?

2. As a synonym of ‘any’

‘Algún’ and ‘alguna’ are also used as a synonym of ‘any’. In this case, it’s very common to use ‘algún’ and ‘alguna’ to ask questions. Here are some phrase structures and examples that you can use to build this type of sentences. 

Examples

¿Algún + [singular masculine noun]?

¿Algún museo que me recomiendes?
Any museum that you can recommend to me?

Creo que nuestro proyecto está bien así, pero si haces algún cambio, avísame
I think our project is good the way it is, but if you make any changes, let me know

¿Alguna + [singular feminine noun]?

¿Hay alguna película que quieras ver?
Is there any movie that you want to watch?

Si tienes alguna duda, deberías hablarle a tu médico
If you have any doubts, you should could your doctor

3. As a synonym of ‘some’

Usually, ‘algún’ and ‘alguna’ are translated as ‘some’ in very few contexts. In fact, this translation gets triggered when your sentences work with ‘algún’ or ‘alguna’ and any of the following words: 

  • Razón – Reason 
  • Motivo – Motive/Reason
  • Día – Day
  • Tipo – Type
  • Otro/Otra – Other
  • Tiempo – Time
  • Manera – Way

Examples

Algún + singular masculine noun

Algún día iré a España
Some day I’ll go to Spain

No sé qué pasó, pero por algún motivo mi celular ya no funciona
I don’t know what happened, but for some reason my phone doesn’t work

Alguna + singular feminine noun

¿Se te ocurre alguna manera de solucionar esto?
Can you think about some way to fix this?

Por alguna razón no puedo abrir tu correo
For some reason I can’t open your email

Alguno – Meanings & Uses

Definition Alguno and alguna mean ‘one’. In some contexts, these words can also be used as a synonym of ‘one of’. As a result, we also use it to build phrases with ‘one of’

What Does ‘Alguno’ Mean?

  • Translation #1: When used as pronouns, alguno and alguna mean one.
  • Translation #2:  Depending on the context, these words could also mean one of
  • Translation #3: When used as a question, the structure alguno de can also be translated as any of.

How and When to use ‘Alguno’?

1. As a synonym of ‘one’ 

One of the main uses and meanings of alguno and alguna is working as a Spanish indeterminate pronoun. This means that, when the context is clear and understandable for everybody in the conversation, alguno and alguna are going to replace a noun. In this case, it’s very common that these words were preceded by sentences containing either algún or alguna. However, this is not a rule. 

Examples

2. As a synonym of ‘one of’

‘Alguno’ and ‘alguna’ can also be used as a synonym of ‘one of’. In this case, we use these words to talk about a small part of a larger group. Although these expressions are common, it’s very likely that you will use and hear more phrases with their plural forms ‘algunos’ and ‘algunas’. 

Examples

Alguno de + [singular masculine noun]

Marco dijo que alguno de estos días se va de viaje
Marco says that one of these days he’s going on a trip

¿Sabes si este coche es de alguno de los vecinos?
Do you know if this car belongs to one of the neighbors?

Alguna de + [singular feminine noun]

Estoy seguro de que alguna de esas chicas te estaba buscando
I’m pretty sure that one of those girls was looking for you

Estoy seguro de que Marco nos dijo que compró su boleto en alguna de estas páginas
I’m pretty sure that Marco told that he bought his ticket in one of these websites 

3. As a synonym of ‘any of’

Alguno and alguna can also be used when asking questions. In a context like this, these Spanish words are translated as ‘any of’.  Here are the phrase structure that we use for this meaning as well as some examples on how to apply it. 

Examples:

¿Alguno de + [pronoun]?

Estoy buscando a Jaime, ¿alguno de ustedes lo conoce?
I’m looking for Jaime, do any of you know him?

¿Alguno de ustedes saben cómo llegar a la casa de Ramiro?
Do any of you know how to get to Ramiro’s house?

¿Alguna de + [pronoun] ?

¿Alguna de estas faldas te sirve?
Do any of these skirts work for you?

¿Sabes si alguna de esas chicas es Laura?
Do you know if any of those girls is Laura?

What’s the Difference Between ‘Algún’ and ‘Alguno’?

We already established that ‘algún’ and ‘alguno’ are meant to talk about indeterminate things or groups of people in a non-specific way. However, as mentioned before, these words have some differences that prevent them from working in the same situations or contexts. 

Instead of thinking of them as opposites and trying to figure out their differences, we should consider ‘algún’ and ‘alguno’ as working partners. If you remember, ‘algún’ always comes before a singular, masculine noun. 

Alguno is a pronoun. This means that, as long as the context is clear and everybody understands what we’re talking about, we’re going to use alguno to replace that masculine noun. So, in other words, we will use ‘algún’ to introduce the masculine noun and alguno to avoid repeating it more than necessary. This is very common in conversations. Look at this example:

First, person #1 introduces the singular, masculine noun:

¿Tienes algún amigo que hable español?
Do you have a friend that speaks Spanish?

Then, person #2 answers, and since the topic is clear, he replaces the noun:

No, pero Carlos debe de tener alguno, déjame preguntarle
No, but Carlos must have one, let me ask him

Something that you need to keep in mind is that ‘algún’ and ‘alguno’ work together to introduce and replace singular, masculine nouns. This means that these words are going to change if you want to use plural or feminine nouns. Here’s a table that can help you with this: 

How to Interchange Them

As mentioned before, algún and alguno (as well as their feminine and plural forms) work together to make Spanish conversations more fluent. 

So in order to interchange them, we need to make sure that: The context is clear enough. That means that even if you use a pronoun to replace a noun, people still will be able to clearly understand what you’re talking about. 

Example 1:

Person 1: introducing a singular, masculine noun and setting the context

¿Algún museo abre hoy?
Do any museums open today?

Person 2: understands the context and interchanges the noun for its corresponding pronoun

Bueno, no estoy seguro, pero alguno debe abrir, ¿no? 
Well, I’m not sure but one must be open, right?

Example 2:

No me gustan los museos, algunos son interesantes, pero otros son aburridos
I don’t like museums, some of them are interesting, but others are boring  

Example 3:

Person 1: introducing a singular, feminine noun and setting the context

Sara nos dijo que alguna de estas tiendas tenían oferta, ¿cuál era?
Sara told us that one of these stores had discounts, which one was it?

Person 2: understands the context and interchanges the noun for its corresponding pronoun

No sé, pero debe ser alguna de esas tres
I don’t know, but it must be one of these three

Example 4:

Creo que sus sugerencias no son buenas, algunas no tienen nada que ver con el team
I think his suggestions aren’t good, some of them don’t have anything to do with the subject

Algunos – Meanings & Uses

Definition Algunos and algunas are used to talk about indefinite things or groups of people. As a result, they are always translated as some. Finally, we can also use them to build the structure ‘some of’. Depending on the context and the grammar structures that you use, algunos and algunos could work as pronouns: they will be replacing a plural noun. 

What Does ‘Algunos’ Mean?

  • Translation #1: It’s the direct translation of some or few. It can be used as a pronoun or to precede a plural, masculine noun. ‘Alguna’ is its feminine form.
  • Translation #2: This word is also used to build the structure ‘some of’. 

How and When to use ‘Algunos’?

1. To talk about indefinite things or people – Some

Algunos and algunas are also used to talk about indeterminate things and quantities. In other words, we use them to talk about people or things in a non-specific way: we don’t say or know much information about the groups we’re talking about. As a result, these words are translated as ‘some’. 

Examples:

Algunos + [plural, masculine noun/pronoun]

Tengo algunos pasteles en el refrigerador
I have some cakes in the fridge

Algunos amigos van a venir a cenar
Some friends are coming to have dinner

Vanessa tiene algunas películas de acción muy buenas
Vanessa has some very good action movies

As mentioned before, algunos can also replace plural, masculine nouns as long as the context is clear. Notice that in this context, algunos will be translated as ‘some of’. Here some examples:

2. As a synonym of ‘some of…’

As established before, most of the time ‘algunos’ is the direct translation of ‘some’. Therefore, we use this word to build the structure ‘some of…’. Just as in English, we use this structure to talk about a small part of a larger group. Here are some examples that will help you understand this. 

Algunos de + [noun/pronoun] 

Algunos de mis objetivos son aprender y practicar más español
Some of my objectives are learning and practicing more Spanish

Todavía no tenemos planes, algunos de nosotros queremos ver una película
We still don’t have a plan, some of us want to watch a movie

Even though in English you can use ‘some of’ for both femenine and masculine nouns, in Spanish, if you have a femenine noun, you’ll need to change ‘algunos’ for algunas.

Algunas de + [noun/pronoun] 

Algunas de las chicas de la oficina quieren ir por una cerveza
Some of the girls from the office want to go for a drink

Edgar compró unas películas, algunas de ellas son de ficción
Edgar bought some movies, some of them are fiction 

As you may have noticed, in the previous examples, unos is also being used to mean ‘some’. Even though in some contexts both ‘algunos’ and ‘unos’ have the same meaning, these words are not synonyms. However, both are extremely important in Spanish. That’s why in this article, I talk more in depth about the differences between uno and algunos in Spanish

3. To distinguish some object from others – ‘some’

Another common way to use ‘algunos’ is when working together with ‘unos’. In this situation, ‘algunos’ has the purpose to differentiate and distinguish an object from others. Keep in mind that in this case, most of the time, you’ll translate ‘algunos’ as ‘some’. 

Examples

Compré unos libros nuevos, algunos son de filosofía y otros de Literatura
I bought some new books, some are about Philosophy and others about Literature

Unos amigos quieren salir el sábado, pero algunos ya tienen planes
Some friends want to go out on Saturday, but some of them already have plans

Side-by-side Comparison of Algún, Alguno and Algunos

So far, we’ve learned the different uses and meanings of algún, alguno and algunos. As a reminder, in the following table, we’ll show you the most common ways to use this word. Hopefully, by comparing them side-by-side, you’ll be able to see their difference clearly.

Uses & Meanings AlgúnAlgunoAlgunos
Precede a noun
Comes before a noun: it can be plural, singular masculine noun
YESNOYES
It can be a pronoun
When the context is clear, it can replace a singular or masculine noun. It can be translated as some or one.
NOYESYES
Some
Talking about indefinite objects or groups of people
YESYESYES
Some of/One of/Any of
It can be used to talk about a small part of a larger group.
NOYESYES
Any
It can be used to talk or ask about an indefinite object or group of people
YESYESNO
A/An 
Talking about an indefinite object or person
YESNONO
Some 
Talking about more than one indeterminate object group of people (distinguish an object from another)
NONOYES

As shown in the table, algún, alguno and algunos share some meanings, but they can’t be interchangeable because they work with different grammar elements. These words are more challenging than their feminine forms: 

  • Alguna → Comes before a singular, feminine noun. It can also be used as a pronoun. 

¿Por qué tienes tantas camisas? Alguna debe de ser de tu hermana
Why do you have so many t-shirts? One of these must be your sister’s

  • Algunas → Comes before a plural, feminine noun. It can also be used as a pronoun.

¿Buscas algunas ideas para tu viaje? Yo tengo algunas
Are you looking for some ideas for your trip? I have some

Wrapping Up

In this article, we discussed the differences between algún, alguno and algunos. As we discussed, these three words are used to talk about indeterminate objects or groups of people. In other words, we use them to talk in non-specific (indeterminate) ways. 

Although they have the same purpose, these words are not synonyms. 

We learned that algún: 

  • always goes before a singular, masculine noun 
  • and that, depending on the context, it could mean ‘any’, ‘a’ and ‘an’. 
  • Additionally, this algún can also be translated as ‘some’ but in this case it must be followed by some specific words. 

We mentioned that alguno works as a pronoun. 

  • As a result, its purpose is to replace a singular, masculine noun (as long as we’re talking about an indeterminate object). 
  • Therefore, alguno can be translated as ‘one’. In this form, it never precedes a noun. 
  • This word can also be used to create structures such as any of’ or ‘one of’. 

Finally, we talked about algunos and we learned that: 

  • This word means some and we can use it either before a plural, masculine noun or as a pronoun. 
  • It’s also used to build expressions that include ‘some of’. 

As you learned, these words all have their specific situations and uses, respectively. 

Here are some of the most common mistakes that should be avoided when using these words. Keep in mind that even if the translation doesn’t reflect it, using one of these words instead of the other will affect your ability to become conversationally fluent in Spanish:

Incorrect

Alguno día iré a España One day I’ll go to Spain

Correct

Algún día iré a España Someday I’ll go to Spain

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of these words and you’re ready to start including them into your conversations. 

Related Questions

What’s the difference between ‘unos’ and ‘algunos’? Both ‘unos’ and ‘algunos’ mean ‘some’ and even though people use them interchangeably, unos is slightly more specific than algunos. ‘Uno’ is also used as a synonym of ‘about’ and ‘approximately’. 

Hay algunas personas que quieren verte
There are some people that want to see you

Tengo unos amigos que hablan español
I have some friends that speak Spanish

Nos vamos en unos cinco minutos
We’re leaving in about five minutes

Although they look very similar, these words have different meanings and particular uses. As a result, you should learn when and how to use them. In this article, you’ll find more information about the difference between unos and algunos

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I’ve taught Spanish in Mexico to a wide array of foreigners. From students and tourists to doctors and soldiers who’ve moved and visited here over the years. During the day I’m a freelancer and marketer, while at night I’m here writing for students of the world wide web looking to learn Spanish. I hope you find what you’re looking here during your journey into Español 🙂 Read More About Me

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