What are cognates? Cognates are words that share the same Latin and/or Greek root and they have similar spelling and the same or similar meaning. Indeed, cognates are an excellent way to learn Spanish words through English. About 90% of Spanish cognates have the same meaning in English, however, sometimes there are exceptions. This common base can help students to transfer over when learning Spanish vocabulary. In a linguistic sense, two words that have a common origin are cognates. Normally, cognates are words in two languages that have a common etymology and so are similar or identical. Therefore, identifying the cognates that transfer from English to Spanish can give you the knowledge of thousands of vocabulary words that you already know, though with minor differences in spelling and pronunciation. Thus, learners can identify Latin and/or Greek words in English and with just some rule or other, transform them over to Spanish and get around 3000 words using this way. The following rules will help you to convert words that you already know to Spanish:

1-Words ending in –al tend to come from Latin, for instance, in English it is pronounced NORmal, however, in Spanish is stressed in the end, NorMAL.


Metal, fatal, habitual, anual, final, festival, fiscal, formal, frontal, trivial, fundamental, general, global, horizontal, hospital, ideal, ilegal, imperial, legal, esencial, individual, industrial, inicial, intelectual, internacional, irracional, judicial, lateral, liberal, local, manual, marginal, material, maternal, etc.

2- Another rule is that words in English that end in -ant or -ent can become a Spanish word just adding an at the end.


Abundante, Accidente, adolescente, agente, antecedente, aparente, ardiente, asistente, brillante, coherente, cliente, componente, constante, continente, conveniente, decente, delincuente, descendiente, diferente, distante, dominante, eficiente, elefante, elegante, elocuente, equivalente, etc.

3- Words ending –ible or –able, can also be converted just pronouncing them syllable by syllable and stressing on the second last syllable.


Accesible, aceptable, admirable, cable, comparable, considerable, estable, favorable, flexible, formidable, horrible, impecable, implacable, imposible, incomprensible, indispensable, inevitable, innumerable, inesperable, interminable, invisible, irreversible, miserable, noble, posible, preferible, etc.

4- The English -ly becomes -mente in Spanish.


Aparentemente, aproximadamente, constantemente, directamente, económicamente, esencialmente, especialmente, evidentemente, extraordinariamente, finalmente, frecuentemente, fundamentalmente, etc.

5- Words ending –ion are the same in English and Spanish, the only difference is that in Spanish they have the accent on the end.


Acusación, adaptación, administración, admiración, agitación, agresión, alteración, alusión, ambición, aparición, aplicación, apreciación, aproximación, asociación, aspiración, atención, atracción, autorización, celebración, circulación, civilización, clasificación, etc.

6- Words that end in –ation can become a verb by getting rid of the –tion and adding an on the end. For instance, preparationpreparación, preparer, to prepare.


Información—-informar, preparación—–preparar, etc.

7- Words that end in –ence or ance, can change –ence to –encia and –ance to –ancia:


Abundancia, adolescencia, agencia, apariencia, asistencia, audiencia, ciencia, circunstancia, coincidencia, conciencia, conferencia, consecuencia, consistencia, conveniencia, correspondencia, dependencia, diferencia, diligencia, distancia, eficiencia, elegancia, esencia, estancia, evidencia, etc.

8- A word that ends in –ity in English, it’s going to be –idad in Spanish most of the time. This –idad is a feminine ending as well.


Actividad, autoridad, calidad, cantidad, capacidad, caridad, claridad, complejidad, complicidad, comunidad, continuidad, cualidad, curiosidad, densidad, dignidad, diversidad, electricidad, entidad, especialidad, estabilidad, eternidad, facilidad, generosidad, habilidad, hostilidad, humanidad, etc.

In short, if someone says that Latin and Greek are dead languages is lying because Spanish, Italian, French and even English are like a modern version of Latin and Greek.



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