As mentioned in the last lesson, learning Spanish prefixed and suffixes is a very practical way to accelerate the Spanish learning process. In the last lesson, we covered the essential frequency prefixes. This lesson is about the suffixes.
A suffix is a word ending. When it is attached to a word, it has certain meaning so that adds that meaning to the word which it is attached. That’s why, just like in the case of prefixes, when you learn how a suffix functions, you can guess the meaning of the words containing the same suffix and also make up new words for more creative conversations.
There are so many Spanish suffixes which are very commonly in use. One such suffix is
The diminutive suffixes are frequently used in Spanish. A diminutive suffix makes the meaning of the word smaller either physically or figuratively, or both at the same time.
One such suffix is –ito/-a. Ito-/-a has a variety of applications.
To make words refer to something smaller
The primary meaning of this suffix is to make some nouns refer to smaller thing.
- (la) mesa is table and (la) mesita is little table
- (el) gato is cat and (el) gatito is kitten
Note that if noun, which has this suffix attached, is feminine, -ita is used.
In this way, the resulting new noun becomes also feminine. In the above example, mesa is feminine, so is mesita. The noun has to agree with the noun too, as every noun. Hence, if you need to refer to more than one mesita, you have to say mesitas.
To express affection
While addressing people, it is common to use the suffix “–ito/-a” in order to add affection.
- papá is dad and papito is something like dear dad. So, in a way, you address in a more affectionate way.
Another example is
- abuela which means grandmother and abulelita is dear grandmother.
You can add this ending to many other words to refer to people.
To lead friendly talks
In this use, -ito/-a does not change the meaning of the word but it adds a friendly tone.
For example, by saying “un momentito” you behave more friendly than using “moment”.
Emphasize the meaning
By adding –ito/-a to the end of an adverb, you can make its meaning stronger.
- Ahora is now, ahorita is this very minute
It is used to intensify the meaning. It is attached to adjectives.
For instance, “rico/-a “means rich. “Riquísimo/-a” is very rich.
Because it is used with adjectives, when you use this suffix, you need to apply the rules for adjectives. That means, the adjective suffixed with –ísimo has to be in agreement with the gender and the number. Hence, it is
- Un hombre riquísimo ( a very rich man)
- Una mujer riquísima (a very rich woman)
Another frequency suffix is –ote.
It means very or big. Typical examples are animal – animalote (animal, big animal); libro-librote (book, big book), árbol – arbolote (tree, big tree)
The suffix “miento/-a” is attached to a verb to form a noun out of it. For example
- sentir is to feel and (el) sentimiento is feeling
Another suffix, which looks like very similar to miento can be used for the same purpose. It is –mento:
- salvar is to rescur, to save, (el) salvamento is rescue
Take into account that these two suffixes cannot replace each other. It’s required to know which word is used with which one. For instcane, the verb “apartar” means separation. A typical mistake can be to mix up the words apartamiento and apartamento, which mean separation and apartment separately.
Note that the words which are suffixed with mento/-a and miento/-a are masculine.
This suffix has various applications. Two of the most common uses are
- to produce words which indicate occupations
- to produce words which refer to a kind of container
- (el) pescado is fish and (el) pescadero is fishmonger
- (el) zapato is shape and (el) zapatero is shoemaker
- (la) moneda is coin and (el) monedero is coin purse
- (la) sal is salt and (el) salero is salt shaker
There are so many words which have the suffix “-ería/-o” attached. These words indicate a sort of shop.
- pescar is “to fish”, pescadería is “fish shop”
- café is coffee and cafeteria is “coffee shop”
It has three main uses. It is added to a verb to form a noun.
The nouns suffixed with –dor can be used to express the following
performer/ a profession
When it is attached to a verb, it can indicate a profession or a performer which is related to the meaning of that verb. To do this, the last letter of the verb is dropped and-dor is added. It is always the case.
- Vender is to sell and (el/la) vendedor/-a is a seller
- repartir is to distribute, repartidor is distributor
-dor is used to make nouns which refer to places. For instance
- comer is to eat and comedor is dining room
to give you an example, lavar is to wash and lavadora is a washing machine
List of words suffixed with the word endings we introduced in this lesson
Words ending in –ito/-a
perro: dog – perrito: puppy
casa: house – casita: little house
despacio: slowly – despacito: really slowly
papá: daddy – papito: dear daddy
ahora: now – ahorita: this very minute
mesa: table - mesita little table
abuela: grandmother - abuelita: dear grandmother
rapido: rapidly – rapidito: really rapidly
gato: cat - gatito kitten
hermano: brother – hermanito: little brother, dear brother
centavo: cent – centavito: very little money
caro: expensive – carísimo: very expensive
alto: tall – altísimo: very tall
rico: rich – riquísimo: very rich
largo: long - larguísimo very long
feo: ugly – feísimo: very ugly
Words ending in –mento/miento
casar: to marry - casamiento: wedding
entender: to understand - entendimiento: understanding
apartar: to separate - apartamiento: separation
fingir: to feign - fingimiento: feigning
sentir: to feel - sentimiento: feeling
acercar: to approach - acercamiento: approach
encarceler: to imprison - encarcelamiento: imprisonment
aprovechar: to use - aprovechamiento: use
alumbrar: to light up - alumbramiento: lighting
estacionar: to park - estacionamiento: parking
recibir: to welcome - recibimiento: reception
cargar: to load - cargamento: shipment
temperar: to temper - temperamento: temperament
reglar: to rule - reglamento: rules
salvar: to rescue - (el) salvamento: rescue
Words ending in –ero
carne: meat - carnicero: butcher
basura: rubbish, garbage - basurero: dustman
pelo: hair - peluquero: hairdresser
faro: lighthouse - farero: lighthouse keeper
pescado: fish - pescadero: fishmonger
cocina: kitchen - cocinero: cook
carta: letter - cartero: postman
parto: birth - partero: midwife
jardín: garden - jardinero: gardener
joya: jewel - joyero: jeweller
fruta: fruit - frutero: greengardener
leche: milk - lechero: milkwoman
ceniza: ash - cenicero: ashtray
reloj: clock - relojero: clockmaker
libro: book - librero: bookseller
pastel: cake - pastelero: baker
tienda: shop - tendero: shopkeeper
moneda: coin - monedero: coin purse
zapato: shoe - zapatero: shoemaker
trampa: trap - trapper: trappe
café: coffee - cafetero: coffee merchant
pimienta: pepper - minetero: pepper shaker
azúcar: sugar - azucarero: sugar bowl
sal: salt - salero: salt shaker
sombrero: hat - sombrerera: hatbox
tinta: ink - tintero: inkpot
leche: milk - lechera: milk can
té: tea - tetera: teapot
Words ending in –dor
bailar: dance – bailador: dancer
hablar: to speak – habladorr: talkative
matar: to kill – matador: killer
diseñar: to design - diseñador: designer
recibidir: to welcome - recibidor: hall
dictar: to dictate - dictador: dictator
cantar: to sing - cantador: singer of popular songs
comprar: to buy - comprador: buyer
educar: to educate - educador: educator
jugar: to play - jugador: player
patina: to skate - patinador: skater
operar: to operate - operador: surgeon
ganar: to win - ganador: winner
pescar: to fish - pescador: fisherman
planchar: to iron - planchador: person who does the ironing
predicar: to preach - predicador: preacher
trabajar: to work - trabajador: worker
vender: to sell - vendedor: seller
comer: to eat - comedor: dining room
contar: to count - contador: accountant
repartir: to distribute- repartidor: distributor
lavar: to wash - lavadora: washing maschine
Words ending in –ería
carne: meat - carnicería: butcher’s
cerveza: beer - cervecería: bar
pan: bread - panadería: bakery
pelo: hair - peluquería: hairdresser's
flor: flower - floristería: florist’s
frura: fruit - frutería: fruiter’s
sombrero: hat, sombrerería: hat shop
helado: icecream - heladería: ice-cream parlor
jayas: jewellry – joyería: jewelry shop
zapato: shoe - zapatería: shoe shop
muebles: furniture - mueblería: furniture store
libro: book - librería: bookstore
pescado: fish - pescadería: fish shop
perfume: perfume - perfumería: perfumery
verdure: vegetable - verdulería: greengrocer's