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

Spanish English Ejemplo Example Related lessons
-ado
-ido
-ed hablado
asistido
talked
helped
Past participle
-al -al personal
infernal
personal
infernal
  
-ando
-iendo
-ing entrando
ocurriendo
entering
occurring
Present participle
-ano/ana -an americano
mejicano
American
Mexican
Nationalities
-ante -ant militante militant
-ar
-er
-ir
to + verb entrar
depender
ocurrir
to enter
to depend
to occur
Infinitives
-arquía -archy anarquía
monarquía
anarchy
monarchy
-ción -tion nación
tradición
nation
tradition
-cracia -cracy democracia
teocracia
democracy
theocracy
-dad -ty finalidad
nacionalidad
finality
nationality
-dor -tor educador
narrador
educator
narrator
 
-encia -ence dependencia
violencia
dependence
violence
-ente -ent aparente
permanente
apparent
permanent
-eza -ness tristeza
franqueza
sadness
frankness
-filo/a -phile hispanófilo Hispanophile
-fobo/a -phobe hispanófobo Hispanophobe
-ica
-ico
/a
-ic
-ical
música
lírico
music
lyrical
-ificar -ify identificar
verificar
identify
verify
 
-ismo
-isma
-ism modernismo
cisma
modernism
schism
-ista -ist lista
purista
list
purist
-ivo
-ivo
/a
-ive votivo
pensativo
votive
pensive
-izar -ize [US] idealizar idealize
realize
-izar -ise [UK] realizar idealise
realise
-mente -ly rápidamente
posiblemente
rapidly
possibly
Adverbs
-mento
-miento
-ment pavimento
adelantamiento
pavement
advancement
-no -nal nocturno
eterno
nocturnal
eternal
-or(a) -er
-or
cantor
jugador
autor
singer
player
author
Professions
-oria
-orio
-ory obligatorio
memoria
obligatory
memory
  
-oso/a -ous nervioso
famoso
nervous
famous
-ro -er [US] metro meter
theater
-ro -re [UK] teatro metre
theatre  
-sión -sion conclusión
tensión
conclusion
tension
-tud -tude plenitud
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- quiosco kiosk
-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.
/xx The 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