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Spanish Cognates

Instantly Learn Thousands of Spanish Words With These Vocabulary Cheat Codes

Cognates are words from two languages that are the same or similar. As English borrows many words from Latin there are many Spanish-English cognates.

By learning the rules below you will have an instant Spanish vocabulary of thousands of words.

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Spanish Cognate Rule 1

Words that end in –ous change to –oso

Spanish words that end in -oso tend to be adjectives. In English we can often change a noun into its corresponding adjective by adding -ous e.g advantage/advantageous, harmony/harmonious, space/spacious. You can often also do this in Spanish with -oso e.g peligro (danger)/peligroso (dangerous), lujo (luxury)/lujoso (luxurious).

Examples
English Spanish
Curious Curioso
Delicious Delicioso
Glorious Glorioso
Mysterious Misterioso
Numerous Numeroso
Precious Precioso
Religious Religioso
Tedious Tedioso



Spanish Cognate Rule 2

Words that end in –al are usually the same in English

Examples
English Spanish
Hospital Hospital
Medical Medical
Animal Animal
Casual Casual
Digital Digital
Final Final
Ideal Ideal
Tropical Tropical



Spanish Cognate Rule 3

Words that end in –ct change to –cto

Examples
English Spanish
Act Acto
Exact Exacto
Correct Correcto
Insect Insecto
Dialect Dialecto
Perfect Perfecto
Product Producto
Conflict Conflicto



Spanish Cognate Rule 4

Words that end in –ance change to –ancia

Examples
English Spanish
Ambulance Ambulancia
France Francia
Distance Distancia
Tolerance Tolerancia
Elegance Elegancia
Importance Importancia
Abundance Abundancia


Spanish Cognate Rule 5

Words that end in –ic change to –ico

These words are usually adjectives and have the stress (and therefore an accent) on the last syllable before the -ico

Examples
English Spanish
Alcoholic Alcohólico
Basic Básico
Fantastic Fantástico
Generic Genérico
Medic Médico
Organic Orgánico
Panic Pánico
Romantic Romántico

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Spanish Cognate Rule 6

Words that end in –ar are usually the same in English

Examples
English Spanish
Familiar Familiar
Lunar Lunar
Muscular Muscular
Regular Regular
Solar Solar
Vulgar Vulgar
Similar Similar
Popular Popular




Spanish Cognate Rule 7

Words that end in –ary change to –ario

Examples
English Spanish
Canary Canario
Diary Diario
Glossary Glosario
Estuary Estuario
Primary Primario
Salary Salario
Vocabulary Vocabulario
Temporary Temporario



Spanish Cognate Rule 8

Words that end in –ant change to –ante

Examples
English Spanish
Abundant Abundante
Distant Distante
Elegant Elegante
Important Importante
Mutant Mutante
Vacant Vacante
Tolerant Tolerante
Instant Instante


Spanish Cognate Rule 9

Words that end in –ble are usually the same in English

Examples
English Spanish
Audible Audible
Cable Cable
Terrible Terrible
Destructible Destructible
Horrible Horrible
Flexible Flexible
Impossible Imposible
Visible Visible



Spanish Cognate Rule 10

Words that end in –ence change to –encia

Examples
English Spanish
Coincidence Coincidencia
Competence Competencia
Difference Diferencia
Excellence Excelencia
Frequence Frecuencia
Intelligence Inteligencia
Presence Presencia
Violence Violencia



Spanish Cognate Rule 11

Words that end in –id change to –ido

Note: many words following this rule have an accent on the first vowel.

Examples
English Spanish
Acid Ácido
Fluid Fluido
Rapid Rápido
Solid Sólido
Valid Válido
Stupid Estúpido
Liquid Líquido
Vivid Vívido



Spanish Cognate Rule 12

Words that end in –ment change to –mento

Note: some words such as departamento may have other minor spelling changes.

Examples
English Spanish
Argument Argumento
Cement Cemento
Department Departamento
Document Documento
Element Elemento
Ligament Ligamento
Moment Momento
Pigment Pigmento