Spanish augmentative suffixes (A2)

Augmentative suffixes can be added to nouns or adjectives to convey the idea of large size or intensitive, often in conjunction with ugliness excess or content.

Spanish augmentative suffixes

Last week we saw the diminutives in Spanish, so this week let’s go with the augmentative suffix.

How to form the augmentative in Spanish

Add the following augmentative suffixes to adjectives and nouns:

1. ÓN/-ONA to give connotations of large size, or to add a hint of sarcasm: una casa = una casona (a large house, rambling house), inocente = inocentón (gullible).

The suffix -ón/-ona can also be used with some verbs and adjectives to mean «give to doing» something:

    • llorar = llorón/llorona (weepy, whiner)
    • contestar = contestón/contestona (argumentative)
    • mandar = mandón/mandona (bossy)
    • comer = comilón/comilona (big eater)
    • dormir = dormilón/dormilona (sleepyhead)

2. -OTE/OTA to  convey largeness, often with negative connotations of clumsiness or ugliness: grande = grandote (very large), feo = feote (plug-ugly)…

3. -AZO/-AZA to convey a positive meaning, usually associated with large size: un coche = un cochazo (a great big car), un moreno = una morenazo (a hunk dark-haired man)…

Note that the suffix -azo can also be added to a noun to indicate that a blow is given with the thing referred to by a noun: un codo = un codazo (a blow with the elbow), un martillo = un martillazo (a blow with a hammer)

Finally, in some cases the addition of an augmentative suffix has created a new word: una sillá (chair) = un sillón (armchair), una caja (box) = cajón (drawer), una taza (a cup) = un tazón (a bowl)…

Let’s practice the augmentative suffixes in Spanish

Time to practice everything you have learned with some interactive exercises, you will have to identify the augmentative, after that you can search in a dictionary their meaning. Remember you can contact your tutor with any question you have or to ask for activities. Don’t you have an online Spanish tutor yet?

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