Spanish Words

Did you know that thousands of Spanish Words have very similar English counterparts.

These words are known as cognates. Cognates are English words which are derived from Latin, and often, they differ from Spanish words, only in their endings.

Some of these Spanish words are a little closer to American spellings rather than British ones. For example ‘color’ is the same as the american spelling as opposed to the British spelling ‘colour’.

Some of these word endings you will come across are:

  • a
  • ado/ada
  • ante
  • ario
  • ary
  • ción
  • idad
  • fía
  • io
  • ia
  • ista
  • ente
  • o
  • orio
  • oso
  • sion
  • tion

There are several others! So, let’s have some examples?


Spanish – English

‘a’ is left off the end of the English word

  • persona – person
  • problema – problem

‘ario’ changes to ‘ary’

  • aniversario – anniversary
  • temporario – temporary

‘ante’ changes to ‘ant’

  • arrogante – arrogant
  • relevante – relevant

‘idad’ changes to ‘ity’

  • actividad – activity
  • eternidad – eternity
  • velocidad – velocity

‘ente’ changes to ‘ent’

  • agente – agent
  • ingrediente – ingredient
  • urgente -urgent

‘ción’ changes to ‘tion’

  • ambición – ambition
  • confrontación – confrontation
  • noción – notion

‘ico’ changes to ‘ical’

  • alfabético – alphabetical
  • impráctico – impractical
  • tecnológico – technological

These are just a few examples of spanish words that are similar to English ones, I am sure you are beginning to get the idea. Using cognates can greatly increase your spanish vocabulary with very little effort!

On the downside, there are also what are known as false cognates.

For example ‘actualamente’ doesn’t mean actually, it means ‘at present’, decepción’ doesn’t mean deception. It actually means dissapointment. ‘Sensible’ means sensitive, vaso is a glass, from which you might drink your wine, and not a vase.

Don’t let these exceptions put you off, you will soon get the hang of them, and cognates can be a huge help in developing your vocabulary.

How about some basic Spanish words to finish off?


Hola – Hello.

Buenos Dias – Good Morning.

Buenas Tardes – Good Afternoon.

Buenas Noches – Good Evening.

Hasta Luega – See you later.

Adios – Goodbye.

I hope you found that useful!