diminutives in spanish

Diminutives in Spanish Language. There are little things too.


Diminutives in Spanish.





The topic of diminutives in Spanish, as in English, becomes complex because of the different uses we make of them in our everyday speech.

In English, the word compositions and suffixes used for the different uses of the diminutives are much more abundant than in Spanish, so we will only establish the minimum comparisons necessary for the most notable uses of these diminutives. For example, Diminutives can be used as:

  • Additional expression of affection with direct relatives.

Root Word Affective Form English Diminutive Spanish Diminutive
Father / Padre Dad / Papá Daddy Papito
Mother / Madre Mom / Mamá Mommy Mamita
Grandfather / Abuelo Grandpa / Abue Grandaddy Abuelito
Grandmother / Abuela Grandma / Abue Grammy Abuelita

diminutives in spanishCourse in Spanish, as in English, the terms used as diminutives for relatives loved ones are practically infinite, so we include only “the basics” in our table of examples.

  • Comparative expression of the characteristics of persons, animals or things.

Root Word English Diminutives Spanish Diminutives
Dog /Perro Doggie / Little dog Perrito / Pequeño Perro
Cat / Gato Kitten / Little cat Gatito / Pequeño gato
Beach / Playa Little beach Playita / Pequeña playa
Beaches / Playas Little beaches Playitas / Pequeñas playas
Dwarf / Enano Little dwarf Enanito / Pequeño enano
Dwarfs / Enanos Little dwarfs Enanitos / Pequeños enanos
Chair / Silla Small chair Sillita / Pequeña silla
Table / Mesa Small table Mesita / Pequeña mesa
Bird / Pájaro Birdie / Little bird Pajarito / Pequeño pájaro

diminutives in spanishNote that in both languages, there is the possibility of expressing diminutives with the combination that includes the adjectives:

little (or small)  / pequeño (a) combined with the standard noun.

However,  there are diminutives in Spanish using the word root and “ito”,” ita “, itos”, “itas” endings, based on the circumstances of the number (singular or plural) and gender (masculine or feminine), for which in English only is the diminutive form based on the use of the adjectives “small” or “little”.

  • Diminutive form of given names of people or animals.

English Name Diminutive Spanish Equivalent Diminutive
John Johnny Juan Juanito
Barbara Barbie Bárbara Barbarita
Charles Charlie Carlos Carlitos
Peter Pete Pedro Pedrito
Ángela Angie Ángela Angelita
Alfred Freddie Alfredo Alfredito
Andrew Andy Andrés Andresito
Sandra Sandie Sandra Sandrita
Thomas Tommy Tomas Tomasito
Susan Suzie Susana Susanita





diminutives in spanishIn the case of proper names, diminutives in English are based on endings “y” and “ie” with some modifications of the original name. In Spanish the original names have very little variation and added “ito” and “ita” terminations.

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absolute superlatives

Absolute Superlatives in Spanish Language. Exaggerating a little


Absolute Superlatives in Spanish Language

As in English, in Spanish there is a word often used when you want to increase the effect of the adjective which the word precedes. In general, that is the way in which both express the so-called absolute superlatives. That Word is: “muy“, which literally translated is equivalent to “very”.




For example, a House can be “grande” (big) but if its size is over the average, in Spanish we say “muy grande” (very big).

See more examples:

Ese carro está corriendo rápido —> That car is running fast

Ese carro está corriendo muy rápido —> That car is running very fastabsolute superlatives

Este carro es pequeño —> This car is small

Este carro es muy pequeño —> This car is very small

Ese carro es caro —> This car is expensive

Ese carro es muy caro —> That car is very expensive

Su novia es inteligente —> His girlfriend is smart

Su novia es muy inteligente —> His girlfriend is very smart

Please note that we are not comparing with other car or girlfriend in particular, what defines the concept of Absolute Superlative, as in the English language.

But not everything is so easy with the Absolute Superlatives when it comes to the Spanish. Let’s look at why.

When we want to be a little more “expressive” or increase the intensity of the adjective, in Spanish, we use the suffixes “isimo (s)” or “isima (s)“, depending on the gender and number of the adjective.

These suffixes are added to the root word (if you can’t remember the meaning of this, click on the LINK) of the qualifier, forming a new “dimension” of this.




In English, to make that increase in the intensity of the qualifying, it usual is replace the adjective by another that express, in itself same, the desired increase of the intensity with which do the description, and in some cases, with any expression based in several words.

Illustrate this working with the same examples above:

Ese carro está corriendo rápido —> That car is running fast

Ese carro está corriendo muy rápido —> That car is running very fast

Ese carro está corriendo rapidísimo —> That car is running double-quick

Este carro es pequeño —> This car is small

Este carro es muy pequeño —> This car is very small

Este carro es pequeñísimo —> This car is tiny

Ese carro es caro —> That car is expensive

Ese carro es muy caro —> That car is very expensive

Ese carro es carísimo —> That car is pricey

Su novia es inteligente —> His girlfriend is smart

Su novia es muy inteligente —> His girlfriend is very smart

Su novia es inteligentísima —> His girlfriend is very clever

absolute superlativesMost important Rule in the use of the absolute superlatives in Spanish is  that you can’t use one then the other. In other words, you can use either of the two expressions:

Este carro es muy pequeño —> This car is very small

Este carro es pequeñísimo —> This car is tiny

But is a very big  grammatical mistake, to say:

Este carro es muy pequeñísimo.

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demonym adjectives 0

Demonym Adjectives or Nationalities of the whole World.


Demonym Adjectives or Nationalities

In Spanish, Nationalities are also considered adjectives. These receive the name of Demonym Adjectives (Adjetivos Gentilicio) and are which is used to express the place of origin of the people or of any object.




Demonym Adjectives can take the place of the noun, i.e. that can be used to refer to a person only naming its demonym, i.e. which is correct to say “European” instead of saying “the person who is originally from Europe”.

demonym adjectives

Demonym Adjectives in Spanish are written with lowercase and unlike English, there are many cases in which are used different words depending on the genre.

Countries whose Demonym Adjectives has a unique genre:

The following table will help you to learn the names of the countries and regions of the world in Spanish as well as Demonym Adjectives which have a unique genre:

Country or Region País o Región Gentilicio  Demonym
Saudi Arabia Arabia Saudita saudí/saudita Saudi Arabian
Athens Atenas ateniense Athenian
Belgium Belgica belga Belgian
Canada Canada canadiense Canadian
Costa Rica Costa Rica costarricense Costa Rican
Croatia Croacia croata Croatan
United States of America Estados Unidos de America estadounidense/ norteamericano American
Ethiopia Etiopia etíope Ethiopian
Iraq Iraq iraquí Iraqi
Iran Iran iraní Iranian/Persian
Israel Israel israelí Israeli
Kuwait Kuwait kuwaití Kuwaiti
Lesotho Lesoto lesotense Mosotho
Madagascar Madagascar malgache Madagascan
Malawi Malaui malauí Malawian
Mali Mali maliense/malí Malian
Morocco Marruecos marroquí Moroccan
Nicaragua Nicaragua nicaraguense Nicaraguan
Oman Oman omaní Omani
Pakistan Pakistan pakistaní Pakistani
Papua New Guinea Papúa Nueva Guinea papú Papua New Guinean
Qatar Qatar qatarí/catarí Qatari
San Marino San Marino sanmarinense Sammarinese
Saint Lucia Santa Lucia santalucense Saint Lucian
Sao Tome and Principe Santo Tome y Principe santotomense Santomean
Singapore Singapur singapurense Singaporean
Somalia Somalia somalí Somali
Swaziland Suazilandia suazi Swazi
East Timor Timor Oriental timorense East Timorese
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad y Tobago trinitense Trinidadian
Vanuatu Vanuatu vanuatuense Ni-Vanuatu
Vietnam Vietnam vietnamita Vietnamese
Yemen Yemen yemeni/yemenita Yemeni
Zimbabwe Zimbabue zimbabuense Zimbabwean




Countries where Demonym Adjectives have genre:

demonym adjectives flag banner

For the case where Demonym Adjectives are different depending on the genre, we have the following table:

Country or Region País o Región Masculine Demonym in Spanish Feminine Demonym in Spanish Demonym in English
Albania Albania albanés albanesa Albanian
Germany Alemania alemán/germano alemana/germana German
America America americano americana American
Angola Angola angoleño angoleña Angolan
Algeria Argelia argelino argelina Algerian
Argentina Argentina argentino argentina Argentine
Asia Asia asiático asiática Asian
Africa Africa africano africana African
Australia Australia australiano australiana Australian
Austria Austria austriaco austriaca Autrian
Azerbaijan Azerbaiyan azerbaiyano azerbaiyana Azerbaijani
Belize Belice beliceño beliceña Belizean
Belarus Bielorrusia bielorruso bielorrusa Belarusian
Myanmar Birmania birmano birmana Burmese
Bolivia Bolivia boliviano boliviana Bolivian
Brazil Brasil brasileño brasileña Brazilian
Cambodia Camboya camboyano camboyana Cambodian
Cameroon Camerún camerunés camerunesa Cameroonian
Chile Chile chileno chilena Chilean
China China chino china Chinese
Korea Corea coreano coreana Korean
North Korea Corea del Norte norcoreano norcoreana North korean
South Korea Corea del Sur surcoreano surcoreana South korean
Ivory Coast Costa de Marfil marfileño marfileña Ivorian
Cuba Cuba cubano cubana Cuban
Denmark Dinamarca danés danesa Danish/Dane
Ecuador Ecuador ecuatoriano ecuatoriana Ecuadorian
Egypt Egipto egipcio egipcia Egyptian
El Salvador El Salvador salvadoreño salvadoreña Salvadoran
Eritrea Eritrea eritreo eritrea Eritrean
Slovakia Eslovaquia eslovaco eslovaca Slovak
Slovenia Eslovenia esloveno eslovena Slovene
Spain España español española Spanish
Estonia Estonia estonio estonia Estonian
Europe Europa europeo europea European
Philippines Filipinas filipino filipina Philippine
Finland Finlandia finlandés finlandesa Finnish
Fiji Fiyi fiyiano fiyiana Fijian
France Francia francés/galo francesa/gala French
Gabon Gabón gabonés gabonesa Gabonese
The Gambia Gambia gambiano gambiana Gambian
Georgia Georgia georgiano georgiana Georgian
Ghana Ghana ghanés ghanesa Ghanaian
Grenada Granada granadino granadina Grenadian
Greece Grecia griego griega Greek
Guatemala Guatemala guatemalteco guatemalteca Guatemalan
Guinea Guinea guineano guineana Guinean
Guyana Guyana guyanés guyanesa Guyanese
Haiti Haití haitiano haitiana Haitian
Holland Holanda holandés holandesa Holander
Honduras Honduras hondureño hondureña Honduran
Hungary Hungría húngaro húngara Hungarian
India India indio/hindú india/hindú Indian
Indonesia Indonesia indonesio indonesia Indonesian
England/ United Kingdom Inglaterra/ Reino Unido/Gran Bretaña inglés/británico inglesa/británica English
Ireland Irlanda irlandés irlandesa Irish
Italy Italia italiano italiana Italian
Jamaica Jamaica jamaicano/jamaiquino jamaicana/ jamaiquina Jamaican
Japan Japon japonés japonesa Japanese
Jordan Jordania jordano jordana Jordanian
Kazakhstan Kazajistán kasajo kasaja Kazakhstani
Kenya Kenia keniano keniana Kenyan
Kyrgyzstan Kirguistán kirguiso/kirguís kirguisa/kirguís Kyrgys
Kiribati Kiribati kiribatiano kiribatiana I-Kiribati
Latvia Letonia letón letona Latvian
Lebanon Líbano libanés libanesa Lebanese
Liberia Liberia liberiano liberiana Liberian
Libya Libia libio libia Libyan
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein liechtensteiniano liechtensteiniana Liechtensteiner
Lithuania Lituania lituano lituana Lithuanian
Luxembourg Luxemburgo luxemburgués luxemburguesa Luxembourger
Macedonia Macedonia macedonio macedonia Macedonian
Malaysia Malasia malasio malasia Malaysian
Maldives Maldivas maldivo maldiva Maldivian
Malta Malta maltés maltesa Maltese
Mauritius Mauricio mauriciano mauriciana Mauritian
Mauritania Mauritania mauritano mauritana Mauritanian
Mexico Mejico mejicano mejicana Mexican
Micronesia Micronesia micronesio micronesia Micronesian
Moldavia Moldavia moldavo moldava Moldavian
Monaco Mónaco monegasco monegasca Monegasque
Mongolia Mongolia mongol/mongoles mongola/mongolesa Mongolian
Mozambique Mozambique mozambiqueño mozambiqueña Mozambican
Namibia Namibia namibio namibia Namibian
Nauru Nauru nauruano nauruana Nauruan
Nepal Nepal nepalés/nepalí nepalesa/nepalí Nepalese
Niger Níger nigerino nigerina Nigerien
Nigeria Nigeria nigeriano nigeriana Nigerian
Norway Noruega noruego noruega Norwegian
New Zealand Nueva Zelanda neozelandés neozelandesa New Zealander
Netherlands Países Bajos neerlandés neerlandesa Dutch
Palau Palaos palauano palauana Palauan
Panama Panamá panameño panameña Panamanian
Paraguay Paraguay paraguayo paraguaya Paraguayan
Peru Perú peruano peruana Peruvian
Poland Polonia polaco polaca Polish
Portugal Portugal portugués portuguesa Portuguese
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico puertorriqueño/ portorriqueño puertorriqueña/ portorriqueña Puerto Rican
Central African República Centroafricana centroafricano centroafricana Central African
Czech Republic República Checa checo checa Czech
Congo República Democratica del Congo congoleño congoleña Congolese
Dominican Republic República Dominicana dominicano dominicana Dominican
Rwanda Ruanda ruandés ruandesa Rwandan
Romania Rumania rumano rumana Romanian
Russia Rusia ruso rusa Russian
Samoa Samoa samoano samoana Samoan
Saint Kitts and Nevis San Cristóbal y Nieves sancristobaleño sancristobaleña Kittitian
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines San Vicente y Granadinas sanvicentino sanvicentina Vincentian
Senegal Senegal senegalés senegalesa Senegalese
Sierra Leone Sierra Leona sierraleonés sierraleonesa Sierra Leonean
Syria Siria sirio siria Syrian
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka/Ceilán esrilanqués/ceilanés esrilanquesa/  ceilanesa Sri Lankan
South Africa Sudáfrica sudafricano sudafricana South African
Sudan Sudán sudanés sudanesa Sudanese
Sweden Suecia sueco sueca Swedish
Switzerland Suiza suizo suiza Swiss
Suriname Surinam surinamés surinamesa Surinamese
Thailand Tailandia tailandés tailandesa Thai
Tanzania Tanzania tanzano tanzana Tanzanian
Tajikistan Tayikistán tayiko tayika Tajikistani
Togo Togo togolés togolesa Togolese
Tonga Tonga tongano tongana Tongan
Tunisia Túnez tunecino tunecina Tunisian
Turkmenistan Turkmenistán turcomano/turmeno turcomana/turmena Turkmen
Turkey Turquía turco turca Turquish
Tuvalu Tuvalu tuvaluano tuvaluana Tuvaluan
Ukraine Ucrania ucraniano ucraniana Ukrainian
Uganda Uganda ugandés ugandesa Ugandan
Uruguay Uruguay uruguayo uruguaya Uruguayan
Uzbekistan Uzbekistán uzbeko uzbeka Uzbekistani
Venezuela Venezuela venezolano venezolana Venezuelan
Djibouti Yibuti yibutiano yibutiana Djiboutian
Zaire Zaire zaireño zaireña Zairian
Zambia Zambia zambiano zambiana Zambian

 

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Adjectives degrade

Adjectives in Spanish Language. Characterizing the nouns.


Definition of Adjectives :

In Spanish, as in English, Adjectives are words that affect nouns, accompany and provide information about them. They act as modifiers or contributing attributes, properties and characteristics to those nouns. Unlike English, in Spanish agrees in gender and number with the noun, and is almost always used after this.

Types of Adjectives:

There are several types of adjectives, but for now we will see the following classifications in the Spanish Grammar:




  • Calificative Adjectives:

The calificative adjective has the function of noted features or qualities of the noun to which accompanies, describing what are, make or have them subject of the sentence, giving information extra on these.

When we add a word that talks about a feature specific of the subject, such as color, size, shape, status, etc., we have a calificative adjective. Here are several examples:

El perro blanco → The white dogadjective square cookie

La casa blanca → The white house

Los niños pequeños → The little kids

Las manzanas pequeñas → The little apples

El pan redondo → The round bread

Las galletas cuadradas → The square cookies

La arena húmeda → The wet sand

Los bosques húmedos → The wet forests

In Spanish its name is: “Adjetivo Calificativo

  • Explicative Adjectives:

As one of the most notable differences between both languages, our Tip more important today is the one concerning the explicative adjectives.




This is one of the few cases in which, in Spanish, the adjective is placed in front of the noun.

The explicative adjective or epithet is a type of adjective which expresses an inherent quality of the noun, which is by its very nature. These adjectives highlighted the qualities that expressed itself nouns, either abstract or concrete, and are most commonly used in literary language.

Properties of the explicative Adjective:

  • Can be removed and the sentence would not lose meaning since they function only as an aesthetic complement to the noun.
  • Explicative adjectives are placed before the noun.

Here we can see some examples:

adjectives poisonous snakeEl frio invierno → The cold winter

Las oscuras noches → The dark nights

La venenosa serpiente → The poisonous snake

Los calientes desiertos → The hot deserts

 

In Spanish they are called: “Adjetivo Explicativo“.

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