The world of cognates: How to speak Spanish without taking a single lesson

One of the best things about learning Spanish as an English speaker is that there are so many cognates!

Cognate words have the same origin and have the same or similar meaning. This is because Spanish and English share Latin and Greek roots. This means that without even taking a Spanish lesson, there will be some words you already know. Handy, right?

There are so many cognates between Spanish and English so this list contains just a few, but feel free to add more! You can also try putting these words in sentences after to really get a feel for them.

You?ll notice that the spelling is not always the same in both languages, and of course, the pronunciation can be quite different too. That?s why it?s so important to say them out loud. One handy tip is to record yourself speaking out loud ? it may be a little cringeworthy at first, but I promise you, it helps! ?

English words ending in ?-al?Spanish words ending in ?-al?
CasualCasual
DigitalDigital
EssentialEsencial
IdealIdeal
RuralRural
TraditionalTradicional
SpecialEspecial

Ojo! Be aware of the spelling changes ? remember that in Spanish, ?e? comes before ?s? when it is at the beginning of a word. We can also see that ?t? turns to a ?c? in some of the above examples.

English words ending in ?-nt?Spanish words ending in ?-nte?
ImportantImportante
ElegantElegante
InstantInstante
ExcellentExcelente
An immigrantUn/a inmigrante
An emigrantUn/a emigrante
A restaurantUn restaurante
UrgentUrgente
IntelligentInteligente
A presidentUn/a presidente
English words ending in ?-ar?Spanish words ending in ?-ar?
ParticularParticular
PopularPopular
RegularRegular
SimilarSimilar
English words ending in ?-ble?Spanish words ending in ?-ble?
(Im)possible(Im)posible
IncredibleIncre?ble
FlexibleFlexible
HorribleHorrible
TerribleTerrible
AdorableAdorable
IntolerableIntolerable
English words ending in ?-ct?Spanish words ending in ?-cto?
An actUn acto
PerfectPerfecto
A productUn producto
ContractContrato (exception!)
CorrectCorrecto
EffectEfecto
ExactExacto
A dialectUn dialecto
An insectUn insecto
English words ending in ?-tion?Spanish words ending in ?-ci?n?
An actionUna acci?n
An associationUna asocaci?n
A constructionUna construcci?n
An evaluationUna evaluaci?n
An investigationUna investigaci?n
A nationUna naci?n

Don?t forget to put an accent on the ?o?!

English words ending in ?-ty?Spanish words ending in ?-idad?
An activityUna actividad
An abilityUna habilidad
A curiosityUna curiosidad
A facilityUna facilidad
A nationalityUna nacionalidad
A possibilityUna posibilidad
The hospitalityLa hospitalidad
A necessityUna necesidad
A varietyUna variedad (exception!)
English words ending in ?-ous?Spanish words ending in ?-oso?
AmbitiousAmbicioso/a
DeliciousDelicioso/a
FuriousFurioso/a
GenerousGeneroso/a
MysteriousMisterioso/a
NervousNervioso/a
NumerousNumeroso/a
ReligiousReligioso/a
FamousFamoso/a

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Un abrazo,

Hannah @ ELC

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