Spelling Equivalents

Equivalentes ortográficos

Spanish English spelling equivalents
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Thanks to extensive Latin influence on Spanish and English, these two languages have many corresponding spelling patterns. They come in handy when learning Spanish, as it means there are lots of cognates (words that are identical or similar) that you’ll easily recognize and understand at first sight – though you do need to beware of falsos amigos.

Knowing common spelling equivalents can also helpful when you’re writing in Spanish, potentially saving you from having to looking up so many words in a dictionary.

 Before you start, a couple of notes:

For the most part, these aren’t hard and fast rules – consider them more like general guiding principles that are bound to have some exceptions.

Also remember that there are often other spelling differences between the two languages, such as accents in Spanish and/or extra letter(s) in one of the languages. For example, it’s helpful to know that Spanish’s mente is equivalent to ly in English, but rapidamente has an "a" before the suffix that is missing in English’s "rapidly."

Equivalent Word Endings

SpanishEnglishEjemploExampleRelated lessons
-ado
-ido
-edhablado
asistido
talked
helped
Past participle
-al-alpersonal
infernal
personal
infernal
  
-ando
-iendo
-ingentrando
ocurriendo
entering
occurring
Present participle
-ano/ana-anamericano
mejicano
American
Mexican
Nationalities
-ante-antmilitantemilitant
-ar
-er
-ir
to + verbentrar
depender
ocurrir
to enter
to depend
to occur
Infinitives
-arquía-archyanarquía
monarquía
anarchy
monarchy
-ción-tionnación
tradición
nation
tradition
-cracia-cracydemocracia
teocracia
democracy
theocracy
-dad-tyfinalidad
nacionalidad
finality
nationality
-dor-toreducador
narrador
educator
narrator
 
-encia-encedependencia
violencia
dependence
violence
-ente-entaparente
permanente
apparent
permanent
-eza-nesstristeza
franqueza
sadness
frankness
-filo/a-philehispanófiloHispanophile
-fobo/a-phobehispanófoboHispanophobe
-ica
-ico
/a
-ic
-ical
música
lírico
music
lyrical
-ificar-ifyidentificar
verificar
identify
verify
 
-ismo
-isma
-ismmodernismo
cisma
modernism
schism
-ista-istlista
purista
list
purist
-ivo
-ivo
/a
-ivevotivo
pensativo
votive
pensive
-izar-ize[US]idealizaridealize
realize
-izar-ise[UK]realizaridealise
realise
-mente-lyrápidamente
posiblemente
rapidly
possibly
Adverbs
-mento
-miento
-mentpavimento
adelantamiento
pavement
advancement
-no-nalnocturno
eterno
nocturnal
eternal
-or(a)-er
-or
cantor
jugador
autor
singer
player
author
Professions
-oria
-orio
-oryobligatorio
memoria
obligatory
memory
  
-oso/a-ousnervioso
famoso
nervous
famous
-ro-er[US]metrometer
theater
-ro-re[UK]teatrometre
theatre  
-sión-sionconclusión
tensión
conclusion
tension
-tud-tudeplenitud
latitud
plenitude
latitude

Equivalent Prefixes

es-s-especial
estupendo
special
stupendous
inm-imm-inmediato
inmigrar
immediate
immigrate
trans-
tras-
trans-transportación
trasplantar
transportation
transplant

Other Spelling Equivalents

-c-
-qu-
-k-quioscokiosk
-cu--qu-ecuador
cuantificar
equator
quantify
-f--ph-teléfono
fotografía
telephone
photograph
-t--th-teatro
mito
theater
myth

Key

(x)The letters in (parentheses) are needed for the feminine form of the Spanish suffix.
/xxThe letters after the /slash indicate that the feminine noun or adjective has a different suffix.
[US]Applies mainly to American English
[UK]Applies mainly to British English

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English Spanish spelling patterns