The Power of Spanish Cognates: 94 Spanish Words You Already Know
Even if today is your first day learning Spanish, you already know plenty of Spanish words.
Actor, animal, bar, color, control… You know them in English, but they’re in italics here because they’re all Spanish cognates!
Spanish and English have many such “twins,” and taking advantage of them will speed up your Spanish learning considerably.
Let’s look at some more words that look exactly (or almost) the same in English and Spanish.
- What Are Spanish Cognates?
- Perfect Spanish Cognates
- Near-perfect Spanish Cognates
- Spanish Verb Cognates
What Are Spanish Cognates?
Cognates are words that look identical or similar in two languages and have the same definition.
English and Spanish have a long history and have lent and borrowed many words from each other. This is helpful for English-speaking learners of Spanish (and vice versa)!
Cognates are the easiest way to expand your vocabulary. Just a quick look at the word and you know its meaning.
Though they look similar, there are often some differences in stress and pronunciation. The links below will take you to Forvo so you can hear each word pronounced by a native speaker.
Beware of false cognates, however!
Often called “false friends,” these are words that look similar in English and Spanish but have different meanings. False cognates can definitely lead to some miscommunication!
Always double-check that a familiar-looking word means what you think it means before you start using it.
The following 94 cognates are true friends: words that look and mean the same in both Spanish and English.
Perfect Spanish Cognates
These words are spelled exactly the same way in English and Spanish. And because they’re cognates, they mean exactly the same thing too.
The only difference you may see in perfect Spanish cognates is the inclusion of an accent mark.
And remember to listen for changes in pronunciation!
Near-perfect Spanish Cognates
These near-perfect cognates have very similar spelling in both English and Spanish, though they’re not exact matches.
You can probably still guess the meaning of the word just by looking at the Spanish form!
Spanish Verb Cognates
The Spanish verb cognates below also have very similar spelling to their English counterparts.
Verb cognates are particularly valuable to learn because they’re so versatile. They can even become adjectives by using the past participle form (remove the -ir, -er or –ar and add an -ido or -ado).
Learning Spanish verb cognates vastly expands your functional vocabulary.
|necesitar||to necessitate; to need|
Learning cognates can be a cool way of improving your Spanish vocabulary with little effort.
And now you’re 94 words closer to becoming a proficient speaker of Spanish!
You can also see these words in use and discover even more Spanish cognates with programs like FluentU. The interactive subtitles let you double-check the meaning of each word in every video you watch, so you don’t have to worry about “false friends.”
As always, happy studying!