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.


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).

English Spanish
Curious Curioso
Delicious Delicioso
Glorious Glorioso
Mysterious Misterioso
Numerous Numeroso



Spanish Cognate Rule 2

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

English Spanish
Hospital Hospital
Medical Medical
Animal Animal
Casual Casual
Digital Digital



Spanish Cognate Rule 3

Words that end in –ct change to –cto

English Spanish
Act Acto
Exact Exacto
Correct Correcto
Insect Insecto
Dialect Dialecto


Spanish Cognate Rule 4

Words that end in –ance change to –ancia

English Spanish
Ambulance Ambulancia
France Francia
Distance Distancia
Tolerance Tolerancia


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

English Spanish
Alcoholic Alcohólico
Basic Básico
Fantastic Fantástico
Generic Genérico
Medic Médico

Spanish Cognate Rule 6

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

English Spanish
Familiar Familiar
Lunar Lunar
Muscular Muscular
Regular Regular
Solar Solar



Spanish Cognate Rule 7

Words that end in –ary change to –ario

English Spanish
Canary Canario
Diary Diario
Glossary Glosario
Estuary Estuario
Primary Primario



Spanish Cognate Rule 8

Words that end in –ant change to –ante

English Spanish
Abundant Abundante
Distant Distante
Elegant Elegante
Important Importante
Mutant Mutante


Spanish Cognate Rule 9

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

English Spanish
Audible Audible
Cable Cable
Terrible Terrible
Destructible Destructible
Horrible Horrible



Spanish Cognate Rule 10

Words that end in –ence change to –encia

English Spanish
Coincidence Coincidencia
Competence Competencia
Difference Diferencia
Excellence Excelencia



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.

English Spanish
Acid Ácido
Fluid Fluido
Rapid Rápido
Solid Sólido
Valid Válido



Spanish Cognate Rule 12

Words that end in –ment change to –mento

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

English Spanish
Argument Argumento
Cement Cemento
Department Departamento
Document Documento
Element Elemento

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