Diminutives and augmentatives




1 A diminutive is a derivative to make something smaller, sometimes because of scorn.

Ese tipejo no se merece ni el aire que respira.

Others for affection.

¡Qué naricita más bonita tiene mi niño!

To stand out that something is physically small.

Los enanitos vivían en una casita bajo un árbol.

To play down the importance of something.

Dame mil pesetillas.

Sandra es bajita.

To cushion something offensive.

¡Qué chulito eres!

To show that someone is angry or fed up.

Me estuvo dando golpecitos con la pelotita de las narices.

¿Tú eres muy graciosillo, no? (= You’re inappropriate or rude)

Or because something is considered not enough.

He pasado una semanita esquiando.

Always pay attention to speaker’s intention.

A noun may be turned into a diminutive by different suffixes.

Cuerdecita Cuerdezuela Cuerdecilla

All these diminutives of cuerda are grammatically correct, but the use makes cuerdecita to be more common than the two others. Next is included a list of suffixes used for the formation of diminutives and widespread cases of their use.

  • -illo, -illa: bigotillo, pesetilla, florecilla, panecillo, redecilla, fierecilla, vientecillo, jardincillo, estatuilla, chaquetilla, etc.
  • -ito, – ita: librito, crucecita, lucecita, solecito, trenecito, vocecita, piececito, tiempecito, piececita, cuerpecito, cuellecito, cuerdecita, huequecito, pueblecito, huesecito, manita, cafelito, añito, cosita, etc. And generally with animals (mainly in children’s stories): pececito, perrito, gatito, pajarito, tortuguita, ranita, etc.
  • -ico, -ica: pañuelico, animalico, etc.
  • -uelo, -uela: espejuelo, riachuelo, ladronzuelo, etc.
  • -ín, ina: pelín, chiquitín, etc. Even though with suffixe, the noun retains the gender: pañuelo is masculine and also pañuelico.
  • The adjectives also may turn into diminutives with some suffixes. As adjectives, they retain the changes in gender and number. These are the most common:
  • -ito, -ita, -itos, -itas: amarillito, azulito, bajito, baratito, clarito, derechito, facilito, guapito, justito, pequeñito, pobrecito, rojito, rosita, verdecito, etc.
  • -illo, -illa, -illos, -illas: carillo, clarillo, contentillo (= a little drunk), facilillo, lentillo, regularcillo, rojillo (= leftist), etc. In this case, the diminutive adjective must follow the noun, never precedes it.

Me han regalado una sillita pequeñita para mi casa de muñecas.

El niño llevaba un pantaloncito azulito.

It is not necesary that the noun is also a diminutive.

Me han regalado una silla pequeñita para mi casa de muñecas.

El niño llevaba un pantalón azulito.

In the case of colours, the diminutive form points to a light shade.

2 Aumentativos

An augmentative is a derivative that adds the meaning of grande to something.

  • -azo, -aza: madraza, padrazo, cochazo, sueldazo, bombazo, manaza, etc.
  • -on, -ona: casona, mujerona, hombrón, etc.
  • -ote, -ota: librote.
  • -tón: hombretón.




Consulta más en Suffixes and prefixes

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