1. How are diminutives used?
  2. How are Diminutives Formed?
  3. Diminutives -cillo(s) and -cilla(s)

Diminutives are suffixes that are added to the end of a word to change the meaning and express smaller size, youth, or affection. They can also be used to express different ideas.



Ese perrito está hermoso.

That little dog is beautiful.

How are diminutives used?

Rule 1. They can be used simply to make a noun smaller.



En esta tacita no se puede tomar nada.

Nothing can be drunk in this tiny cup.

Rule 2. More commonly, they are used to speaking fondly of something or someone.



Solo quiero abrazar a este gatito.

I just want to hug this kitty.

Rule 3. However, they can also be used to speak with contempt or arrogance.



Esa niñita es bien molesta.

That little girl is very annoying.

Rule 4. Diminutive suffixes are also added to adjectives or adverbs to emphasize their meaning. You have probably heard Luis Fonsi's song Despacito without realizing that despacito is a diminutive of the adverb despacio (slowly).



Despacito, quiero respirar tu cuello despacito.

Slowly, I want to breathe into your neck slowly.

Here, the singer is using a diminutive to emphasize the slowness of an action to make it more romantic.

How are Diminutives Formed?

There are two general rules for creating diminutives.

Rule 5. When the word ends in a vowel or consonant (except -n or -r), remove the final vowel. Then, add -ito if the word is masculine singular, -itos if it is masculine plural,-ita if the word is feminine singular, or -itas if it is feminine plural.



libro - librito

libros - libritos

book - little book

books - little books

casa - casita

casas - casitas

house - little house

houses - little houses

Rule 6. When the stress is on the last syllable, the word ends with a stressed vowel, or the word ends in -n or -r, add -cito if the word is masculine singular, -citos for the masculine plural, -cita for the feminine singular, or -citas for the feminine plural.



corazón - corazoncito

heart - little heart

doctor - doctorcito

doctor - little doctor

Rule 7. It should be noted that these are general rules, and there are several exceptions. In fact, the way to say diminutives can vary from country to country.

gatito gatico kitty
gatito gatico kitty

Diminutives -cillo(s) and -cilla(s)

Rule 8. Rule 3 mentioned that diminutives can be used to express contempt. Although this can be done with regular endings and depends on the intention and tone of the speaker, cillo(s) and cilla(s) tend to be more associated with this usage.



Ese hombrecillo tiene el ego muy alto.

That little man has a big ego.



Cuaderno (notebook)


correct answers.