Diminutives are used to express smallness or affection.
English has a few common diminutives, such as kitty, doggy, sonny, also some proper names have diminutive forms, such as Bobby, Vicky, etc. In Spanish, most nouns and adjectives have diminutive forms, which is the equivalent to modifying a word with little. The most common diminutive suffixes are the following:
SINGULAR PLURAL MASCULINE -ito, -cito -itos, -citos FEMININE -ita,-cita -itas, -citas
The following diminutive suffixes are less commonly used:
SINGULAR PLURAL MASCULINE -illo -illos FEMININE -illa -illas
1. Generally, when words end in -a , -o or -te, the vowel is dropped and -ito(s) or -ita(s) is added. For the other words -cito(s), -cita(s) are used. However, these are NOT rules. They are only guides because there are many variations.
NOUN DIMINUTIVE dedo/ finger dedito cabeza/ head cabecita elefante/ elephant elefantito peine/ comb peinecito camión/ truck camioncito mujer/ woman mujercita sol/ sun solcito lunar/ mole lunarcito solo/ alone, lonely solito
NOTE: When looking up a word in a dictionary, be aware of diminutives, which are NOT listed. Therefore, try to find the base word.
2. There are many words that end in -illa(s), -illo(s), -cilla(s), -cillo(s) that are NOT diminutives:
WORD DIMINUTIVE martillo/ hammer martillito ladrillo/ brick ladrillito pocillo/ demi-tasse (small cup) pocillito platillo/ saucer or dish (food preparation) n/a bocadillo/ finger food bocadillito bolsillo/ pocket bolsillito silla/ chair sillita
LESSONS: Organizational Chart III & Organizational Chart IIIa.
© Copyright 1999-2003 businessspanish.com. All rights reserved.