Using the diminutive suffix -ito, -ita, -itos and -itas with words ending in -o/-a/-io/-ia

In Spanish, instead of adding the adjective pequeño (= small or little), we can use the diminutive suffix -ito, -ita, -itos or -itas. The suffix not only indicates a diminutive size, but in some cases, it can add a nuance of affection, or soften the meaning of the actual word.

With words ending in -o, -a, -io and -ia, the rule is to remove these endings and replace with the suffix.

With nouns and adjectives the suffix needs agreement in gender and number.

Have a look:

Masc sing   Fem sing    Masc pl    Fem pl   
 -ito  -ita   -itos  -itas

Read and listen to these examples:

El pajarito voló del nido.
The little bird flew from its nest. [pájaro → pajarito]

La mesita es verde.
The little table is green. [mesa → mesita]

Los libritos de vocabulario eran muy útiles.
The little vocabulary books were very useful. [libros → libritos]

Las lamparitas del salón lucen bastante bien.
The little lamps in the living room shine quite well. [lámpara → lamparitas]

Tienes la cara morenita.
Your face is (nicely) tanned. [morena → morenita, softened]

Mi sobrino es muy bajito.
My nephew is very short. [bajo → bajito, affectionate]

 However, with adverbs, we only use the suffix -ito or-ita.
  • Adverbs ending in -o take the -ito suffix.
  • Adverbs ending in -a take the -ita suffix.

Have a look and listen to these examples:

¡Come despacio!
Eat slowly!

¡Come despacito!
Eat slowly!

Te espero afuera.
I'll wait for you outside.

Te espero afuerita.
I'll wait for you outside.

In the second and fourth examples, the words slowly (despacio) and outside (afuera) are softened and used affectionately with the addition of the suffix (despacito - afuerita).

Sometimes adding the suffix to the word requires a spelling change to maintain the original sound of the word, as with words ending in -co and -go.

Have a look and listen to these examples:

  • poco a bit

Dame un poquito de agua, por favor.
Can I have a little bit of water please?

  • abrigo = coat

Tu abriguito está en la percha.
Your little coat is on the peg.

 

See also Diminutivo.

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

La mesita es verde.
The little table is green. [mesa → mesita]


Las lamparitas del salón lucen bastante bien.
The little lamps in the living room shine quite well. [lámpara → lamparitas]


Te espero afuera.
I'll wait for you outside.


Tu abriguito está en la percha.
Your little coat is on the peg.


Te espero afuerita.
I'll wait for you outside.


Los libritos de vocabulario eran muy útiles.
The little vocabulary books were very useful. [libros → libritos]


Tienes la cara morenita.
Your face is (nicely) tanned. [morena → morenita, softened]


¡Come despacito!
Eat slowly!


Dame un poquito de agua, por favor.
Can I have a little bit of water please?


Mi sobrino es muy bajito.
My nephew is very short. [bajo → bajito, affectionate]


¡Come despacio!
Eat slowly!


El pajarito voló del nido.
The little bird flew from its nest. [pájaro → pajarito]


Q&A Forum 1 question, 1 answer

Should it not be “¿Dame un poquito de agua, por favor?”?

Asked 3 months ago
InmaKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hola Johan

That is what the sentence in the lesson is saying, unless you mean it should have question marks? Is that what you meant?

We don't need question marks here as it is a request using the imperative. I know it may sound a bit rude for English speakers to make a request like that, but it is totally normal in Spanish. It is literally saying: "Give me a bit of water, please", but the English translation used is the one that you would use in English as a polite request, with "Can you, Could you...?". This is why you see question marks in the English but not in the Spanish.

Hope this helps

Un saludo

Inma

Should it not be “¿Dame un poquito de agua, por favor?”?

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