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How to Create Cognates: Spanish English-Language Learners

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***Students, the audio pronunciation guide with this lesson is included for those of you who need to hear my voice in order to learn, but if the audio recording is distracting to you, scroll down to the comments section and press pause on the audio.***

Below is a sample list of English and Spanish cognates for Spanish speakers who are learning English as a second language. (Cognates are words that have the same meanings, but are sometimes spelled and/or pronounced slightly different.) Knowing how to convert words, such as cognates, can instantly increase your English vocabulary without you having to memorize anything.
Source: Adapted from for Spanish speakers learning English as a second language.

English words ending in "ible" (Category 1 contains 39 words):
English Spanish
Possible → Posible
Compatible → Compatible
Flexible → Flexible
Inflexible → Inflexible
Horrible → Horrible
Impossible → Imposible
Invisible → Invisible
Reversible → Reversible
Terrible → Terrible

English words ending in "able" (Category 2 contains 87 words):
English Spanish
Probable → Probable
Acceptable → Aceptable
Admirable → Admirable
Adorable → Adorable
Cable → Cable
Curable → Curable
Durable → Durable
Impeccable → Impecable
Inevitable → Inevitable
Formidable → Formidable
Presentable → Presentable
Respectable → Respectable
Passable → Pasable
Memorable → Memorable
Detestable → Detestable

English words ending in "al" (Category 3 contains 264 words):
English Spanish
Dental → Dental
Crystal → Cristal
Fatal → Fatal
Informal → Informal
Material → Material
Musical → Musical
Official → Oficial
Postal → Postal
Principal → Principal
Total → Total
Antisocial → Antisocial
Brutal → Brutal
Central → Central
Federal → Federal
Hospital → Hospital
Initial → Inicial
Mineral → Mineral
Experimental → Experimental
Emotional → Emocional
Intentional → Intencional
Normal → Normal

English words ending in "tion" (Category 4 contains 323 words):
English Spanish
Information → Información
Federation → Federación
Fraction → Fración
Perfection → Perfección
Tradition → Tradición
Vibration → Vibración
Prediction → Predicción
Option → Opción
Nation → Nación
Lotion → Loción
Limitation → Limitación
Action → Acción
Activation → Activación
Contraction → Contracción
Solution → Solución
Transformation →Transformación
Repetition → Repetición

English words ending in "ist" (Category 5 contains 55 words):
English Spanish
Dentist → Dentista
Artist → Artista
Tourist → Tourista
Optimist → Optimista
Communist → Comunista
Capitalist → Capitalista
Vocalist → Vocalista
Pacifist → Pacifista
Pessimist → Pesimista

English words ending in "ant" (Category 6 contains 66 words):
English Spanish
Distant → Distante
Elegant → Elegante
Tolerant → Tolerante
Important → Importante
Irritant → Irritante
Lubricant → Lubricante
Instant → Instante
Ignorant → Ignorante
Militant → Militante
Vibrant → Vibrante
Elephant → Elefante
Brillant → Brillante
Intolerant → Intolerante

English words ending in "ic" (Category 7 contains 246 words):
English Spanish
Classic → Clásico(a)
Toxic → Tóxico(a)
Traffic → Tráfico(a)
Public → Público(a)
Panic → Pánico(a)
Organic → Orgánico(a)
Comic → Cómico(a)
Electric → Eléctrico(a)
Historic → Histórico(a)
Demographic → Demográphico(a)
Fantastic → Fantástico(a)
Music → (La) Música
*A musician → Un músico(a)*

English words ending in "ary" (Category 8 contains 57 words):
English Spanish
Vocabulary → Vocabulario
Necessary → Necesario(a)
Anniversary → Aniversario
Temporary → Temporario(a)
Secretary → Secretario(a)
Primary → Primario(a)
Glossary → Glosario
Ordinary → Ordinario(a)
Solitary → Solitario(a)
Adversary → Adversario(a)
Summary → Sumario(a)
*A Diary → Un Diario*

English words ending in "ment" (Category 9 contains 38 words):
English Spanish
Document → Documento
Moment → Momento
Element → Elemento
Fragment → Fragmento
Monument → Monumento
Segment → Segmento
Instrument → Instrumento
Cement → Cemento
Ornament → Ornamento
Experiment → Experimento
Torment → Tormento
Complement → Complemento

English words ending in "ity" (Category 10 contains 223 words):
English Spanish
Identity → Identidad
University → Universidad
Possibility → Posibilidad
Community → Comunidad
Clarity → Claridad
Reality → Realidad
Curiosity → Curiosidad
Activity → Actividad
Electricity → Electricidad

English words ending in "sion" (Category 11 contains 80 words):
English Spanish
Confession → Confesión
Conclusion → Conclusión
Aggression → Agresión
Decision → Decisión
Invasion → Invasión
Passion → Pasión
Mission → Misión
Occasion → Ocasión
Profession → Profesión
Tension → Tensión

English words ending in "ent" (Category 12 contains 106 Words):
English Spanish
Innocent → Inocente
Eloquent → Elocuente
Excellent → Excelente
Incident → Incidente
Different → Diferente
Client → Cliente
Competent → Competente
Frequent → Frecuente
Present → Presente
Resident → Residente
President → Presidente

English words ending in "ive" (Category 13 contains 161 words):
English Spanish
Active → Activo(a)
Compulsive → Compulsivo(a)
Attractive → Atractivo(a)
Negative → Negativo(a)
Destructive → Destructivo(a)
Exclusive → Exclusivo(a)
Repulsive → Repulsivo(a)

English words ending in "id" (Category 14 contains 29 words):
English Spanish
Acid → Ácido
Liquid → (El) Líquido
Rapid → Rápido(a)
Solid → Sólido(a)
valid → Válido(a)
Placid → Plácido(a)

English words ending in "ct" (Category 15 contains 45 words):
English Spanish
Act → Acto
Correct → Correcto(a)
Compact → Compacto(a)
Architect → Arquitecto(a)
Effect → Efecto
Exact → Exacto(a)
Perfect → Perfecto(a)
Product → Producto
Insect → Insecto
Imperfect → Imperfecto(a)

English words ending in "ence/ance" (Categories 16 and 17 contain 114 words):
English Spanish
Difference → Diferencia
Innocence → Inocencia
Turbulence → Turbulencia
Violence → Violencia
Residence → Residencia
Distance → Distancia
Elegance → Elegancia
Ignorance → Ignorancia
Importance → Importancia
Arrogance → Arrogancia
Ambulance → Ambulancia
Tolerance → Tolerancia
Relevance → Relevancia

English words ending in "ous" (Category 18 contains 69 words):
English Spanish
Delicious → Delicioso(a)
Fabulous → Fabuloso(a)
Famous → Famoso(a)
Glorious → Glorioso(a)
Numerous → Numeroso(a)
Precious → Precioso(a)

***Note: There are some exceptions to the rules shown above, but generally, you can create instant vocabulary words, without having to memorize anything, by following the conversion rules above. As you become more familiar with the sounds of the English language, you should be able to start "hearing" the cognates and then be able to better infer whether or not a word will automatically convert from Spanish to English based on word endings.

An exception to the given rule in Category 13 is shown below so that you know you cannot always rely on the rules of "how to create a cognate," but, at the same time, these rules, on "how to create a cognate," are worth mentioning so that you are able to automatically recognize some of the word-ending patterns, between Spanish and English, that can assist you in rapidly increasing the vocabulary you retain in your long-term memory without having to do any memorization; therefore, giving you the gift of a still yet rich vocabulary, even without memorizing.

Cognate Rule Exception - from category 13 - English words ending in "ive":
Spanish English
Sensitivo(a) Sensitive

Spanish English
Sensible = Sensitive

Answer the following question in the comment section below: Can you create a few more English cognates by using the rules from the categories listed above?


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