Augmentatives and diminutives

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Augmentatives and diminutives

Augmentatives refer to something large, or intensify the meaning of a word. Diminutives refer to small things, or can be used to express affection.

Nacho es un buenazo = muy bueno

Nacho is a really nice guy.

He visto un pajarito = pájaro pequeño

I saw a little bird.

Augmentatives and diminutives indicate 'bigness' and 'smallness'. They are formed by adding suffixes to nouns and adjectives.

Fuimos a ver un peliculón (película)

We went to see a great movie.

Mi perro es muy pequeñito (pequeño)

My dog is teeny tiny.

The main suffixes for the augmentatives: -ón/ona, -ote/ota, -azo/aza.

Ana está tristona (triste)

Ana is very sad.

Estoy leyendo un librote de mil páginas (libro)

I’m reading a huge 1000-page book.

Magda es una buenaza (buena)

Magda is a very good person.

The main suffixes for the diminutives: -in/ina, -ito/ita, -illo/illa.

La piscina es muy chiquitina (chica)

The pool is tiny.

¿Quieres una cervecita fresquita? (cerveza/fresca)

Do you want a nice cold beer?

Hay un jardincillo al final de la calle (jardín)

There’s a little garden at the end of the street.

Note: in some cases you can use different augmentative/diminutive endings with the same word: buenazo/buenote (nice guy), pajarito/pajarillo (little bird).

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