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Ask a Teacher, Lesson 12 - What are diminutives and how do you use them in Spanish?
Hi everybody! Rosa here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Spanish questions.
The question for this lesson is…
What are diminutives and how do you use them in Spanish?
Appreciative suffixes are added to the end of a word to express an emotive or affective appreciation or to show an opinion. They are classified into three types-- diminutives, augmentatives, and pejoratives. In this lesson, we’ll discuss the diminutives. ¡Vamos allá! “Let’s go!”
Diminutives are used to emphasize that something is particularly small or short. They’re also used to express love and affection.
Let’s go through some examples so you can learn how to use diminutives correctly.
A very common one is -ito or -ita. For example, from the word escalera, "stairs," we have escalerita, if we want to express that the stairs are small. Another example, from gato, "cat," we get the word gatito, adding tenderness to our expression. You can even use this with names such as Juan to Juanito, when you’re talking about someone colloquially, most likely a child.
Another common suffix, particularly in Andalucia, the south of Spain, is -illo or -illa. From libro, "book," we get librillo, "small book."
We also have the suffix -ete or -eta, used more informally. In this case, from amigo, "friend," we have amiguete to express tenderness or affection for our friend.
Lastly, with more local use, particularly found in Galicia, Northern Spain, we find the suffix -iño or -iña. From pobre, "poor," we can say pobriño, also adding a sense of tenderness.
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
¡Hasta luego! “See you later!”

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