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Spanish words that are similar to English words

There are a lot of Spanish words that are similar to English words!

In some cases, they are written exactly the same and have the same meaning. It’s wonderful, isn’t it?

You can read 250 words that are the same in English and Spanish to find them out.

And when they are spelled differently, you just need to identify what the suffixes are, that is the group of letters added to the end of a word to make another one.

By translating the English suffix into Spanish (and paying attention to the pronunciation), you can form hundreds of new words and increase your vocabulary exponentially!

For example:

education = educación

vocabulary = vocabulario

generally = generalmente

Are you ready to learn over 200 cognate words in Spanish and English? Let’s go!

-tion / -cion words

Generally you can translate the suffix -tion as -cion. There might be small spelling changes, but you will recognize those words easily if you read them.

Some of them are:

action = acción
administration = administración
ambition = ambición
application = aplicación
association = asociación
attention = atención
attraction = atracción
celebration = celebración
collection = colección
combination = combinación
communication = comunicación
competition = competición
concentration = concentración
condition = condición
consideration = consideración
construction = construcción
contribution = contribución
conversation = conversación
creation = creación
decoration = decoración
definition = definición
description = descripción
direction = dirección
distribution = distribución
edition = edición
education = educación
election = elección
emotion = emoción
exhibition = exhibición
expedition = expedición
exploration = exploración
fiction = ficción
function = función
generation = generación
illustration = ilustración
imagination = imaginación
infection = infección
information = información
institution = institución
instruction = instrucción
intention = intención
introduction = introducción
investigation = investigación
invitation = invitación
mention = mención
motivation = motivación
nation = nación
notion = noción
obligation = obligación
observation = observación
operation = operación
opposition = oposición
option = opción
organization = organización
pollution = polución
position = posición
prediction = predicción
preparation = preparación
presentation = presentación
production = producción
protection = protección
publication = publicación
reaction = reacción
reception = recepción
recommendation = recomendación
reduction = reducción
regulation = regulación
relation = relación
reputation = reputación
revolution = revolución
section = sección
selection = selección
situation = situación
solution = situación
station = estación
tradition = tradición
transition = transición
vacation = vacación

There are some exceptions, such as connection (conexión) and translation (traducción), but yet it’s still a good trick!

-ssion / -sion words

In a lot of cases you just need to delete an s to form the word in Spanish. Some of them are:

discussion = discusión
expression = expresión
impression = impresión
mission = misión
passion = pasión
possession = posesión
profession = profesión
session = sesión

An exception would be permission, which translates as permiso.

-ary / -ario words

Usually the ending -ary can be replaced with -ario in Spanish.

anniversary = aniversario
diary = diario
dictionary = diccionario
extraordinary = extraordinario
imaginary = imaginario
necessary = necesario
ordinary = ordinario
primary = primario
salary = salario
secondary = secundario
secretary = secretario

Some exceptions: contemporary (contemporáneo), temporary (temporal).

Actually you can say temporario, but this usage has fallen into disuse!

-ic / -ico words

Generally the ending -ic can be translated as -ico in Spanish.

academic = académico
alcoholic = alcohólico
artistic = artístico
basic = básico
classic = clásico
critic = crítico
domestic = doméstico
dramatic = dramático
economic = económico
electric = eléctrico
electronic = electrónico
fantastic = fantástico
historic = histórico
magic = mágico (adjective)
plastic = plástico
public = público
romantic = romántico
scientific = científico
specific = específico
topic = tópico
traffic = tráfico

Some exceptions: realistic (realista), enthusiastic (entusiasmado).

Motivation is an example of a cognate word in Spanish and English
¡Mi motivación es ayudarte a aprender más español! Foto de Anna Tarazevich en Pexels

-ous / -oso words

A lot of times you can replace the suffix -ous with -oso.

ambitious = ambicioso
anxious = ansioso
delicious = delicioso
famous = famoso
generous = generoso
mysterious = misterioso
nervous = nervioso
numerous = numeroso
religious = religioso

Some exceptions: conscious (consciente), obvious (obvio), serious (serio).

-ct / -cto words

Usually the ending -ct is translated as -cto in Spanish.

act = acto
architect = arquitecto
aspect = aspecto
conflict = conflicto
contact = contacto
correct = correcto (adjective)
direct = directo (adjective)
effect = efecto
elect = electo (adjective)
exact = exacto
impact = impacto
insect = insecto
perfect = perfecto
product = producto
project = proyecto
strict = estricto

Some exceptions: contract (contrato), object (objeto), respect (respeto).

-ity – / -idad words

Generally you can replace the ending -ity with -idad in Spanish.

ability = habilidad
activity = actividad
authority = autoridad
capacity = capacidad
celebrity = celebridad
charity = caridad
city = ciudad
community = comunidad
electricity = electricidad
identity = identidad
opportunity = oportunidad
personality = personalidad
popularity = popularidad
possibility = posibilidad
priority = prioridad
quality = calidad
quantity = cantidad
reality = realidad
responsibility = responsabilidad
security = seguridad
university = universidad

Some exceptions: majority (mayoría), minority (minoría).

-ist / -ista words

You can replace the suffix -ist with -ista in some words.

artist = artista
dentist = dentista
list = lista
specialist = especialista
tourist = turista

An exception is scientist, which translates as científico.

-phy / -fía words

The suffix -phy is translated as -fía in Spanish.

geography = geografía
philosophy = filosofía
photography = fotografía

-cial / -cial words

There are only a few words that change their spelling a little bit. That’s why you will find others like artificial and social in 250 words that are the same in English and Spanish.

commercial = comercial
official = oficial
special = especial

Adverbs in Spanish: -ly / -mente

To form adverbs in Spanish, normally you just need to replace the suffix -ly with -mente.

absolutely = absolutamente
apparently = aparentemente
approximately = aproximadamente
basically = básicamente
commonly = comúnmente
completely = completamente
constantly = constantemente
correctly = correctamente
definitely = definitivamente
deliberately = deliberadamente
differently = diferentemente
directly = directamente
effectively = efectivamente
entirely = enteramente
especially = especialmente
exactly = exactamente
extremely = extremamente, extremadamente
finally = finamente
fortunately = afortunadamente
frequently = frecuentemente
generally = generalmente
gradually = gradualmente
immediately = inmediatamente
incredibly = increíblemente
initially = inicialmente
largely = largamente
naturally = naturalmente
necessarily = necesariamente
normally = normalmente
ocassionally = ocasionalmente
originally = originalmente
particularly = particularmente
perfectly = perfectamente
personally = personalmente
possibly = posiblemente
probably = probablemente
rapidly = rápidamente
rarely = raramente
really = realmente
recently = recientemente
regularly = regularmente
relatively = relativamente
similarly = similarmente
simply = simplemente
specifically = específicamente
totally = totalmente
typically = típicamente
usually = usualmente

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I hope you have enjoyed this article with Spanish words that are similar to English words!

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Thank you very much and until next time,


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