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Articles Reference-&-Education Language

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You might not realize it but you already know hundreds, if not thousands, of Spanish words. In this article we will highlight all the ways in which the English and Spanish languages share hundreds of words - words that you will be able to use every day.


Any English word that ends in "able" or "ible" has a Spanish counterpart will almost always be the same. As examples, favorable, formidable, considerable, admirable and honorable all have the same in meanings in both languages. This also applies to the ible words, words like combustible, comestible, horrible, terrible and impossible. What is also worth noting is that if the word can be split by the removal of the suffix (take the "ible" away from terrible and you have terror or "able" away from honorable to leave honor) then the start of word can be used in Spanish as well.

The words may be spelled the same in both languages and have the same normal (normal is an English/Spanish word) meaning, though they are pronounced differently. A guide on how to pronounce Spanish words can be found later in this article.


Languages evolve and develop as the years pass with the majority of new words that entering a language coming from the scientific or technological area (area is also an English/Spanish word).

Examples of shared words include; alcohol, eclipse, celestial, bacteria, aerosol, interface, laser, numeral, factor and television. New inventions will normally be called the same all over the world but as you can see the shared words come from all kinds of disciplines and the ones chosen here are only a tiny sample,

As emphasized, these will be subject to Spanish pronunciation changes.


With the advent of global communications the world is getting smaller, and as a result the cultural differences between countries similarly gets smaller. This leads to words crossing boundaries and being used in the everyday language of many languages, so words that have a heavy popular (popular is an English/Spanish word) cultural reference will quite often be usable.

Examples of this include things like golf, director, hockey (sobre hielo, is ice hockey), album, comercial, comic, ballet, video, jersey and record.

Because this crossover works both ways, without knowing it, you will have come across many Spanish words in everyday use - words in location names, words from cookery, etc. Words like adios (goodbye), bandido (bandit), cabana (hut), chorizo (sausage), empanada (pastry), cerveza (beer), Navidad (Christmas), diablo (devil), junta (committee), hacienda (home), laguna (lagoon), macho (manly), padre (father) and tortilla (omelet).

Try one day noting how many Spanish words you come across, you may be surprised!

Now we will look at words which are spelled slightly differently but are so close as to be easily understandable and usable.


There are many Spanish words that look familiar but are subtly different. This is because you will hardly ever see "t" and "h" together in Spanish, so words in Spanish that look unfamiliar may become more obvious when an "h" is added. Examples of this include Cathedral (comes from catedral), thesis (from tesis), marathon (from maraton), thermal from (termal) and autor (author). I bet you can guess what matematico is? The "th" sound is replaced by a flat "t" sound as in hat.


Not only are there no "th" words, but the Spanish language has no words that end in "tion." This means that instead of edition we have edicion, the "t" is replaced by a "c." When we know this, it makes it easy to work out what these words mean - atencion, asociacion, coleccion, adicion, and combinacion.

There are obvious but slight changes in some of the spellings but knowing what to look for will help you identify words. The sound of the word changes as well as the spelling, the "sh" sound of a word like edition, changes to a "thee" sound in edicion.


Many Spanish words differ from the English version by only one letter. That letter is usually a vowel and it comes at the end of a word. This is because the Spanish language (like many others) assigns a gender to lots of its words. If the gender is male the word ends in an "o," if the gender is female it ends in an "a."

A Spanish word like apartamento is obviously apartment; it has been given the masculine ending. Other similar words are busto (bust, as in sculpture), bulbo (bulb), cataclismo (cataclysm), concepto (concept), candidato (male candidate) and producto (product).

This means that words ending in "a" have been given the feminine ending, words like acrobata (acrobat), candidata (female candidate), diagrama (diagram), epica (epic), ilusionista (illusionist) and planeta (planet).

As shown above words like candidate when Spanish can end in either "o" or "a" depending on the person being described, but that should not stop you from realizing what the word is.

Spanish is a well defined language, which means that the rules guiding its use are quite simple. No language rule is ever water tight, though armed with the knowledge from this article you should, hopefully, have expanded your Spanish vocabulary.
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