Augmentative Terminations  

Basic Spanish Grammar Augmentative Terminations

Suffixes called augmentatives are added to words to indicate augmentation. One example in English is:

ball --> balloon

The Spanish suffixes on (masculine), and ona (feminine) denote augmentation:

grande - big ---> grandón - really, really big

hombre - man ---> hombrón - big, strong man

El médico es un hombrón.
The doctor is a big man.

guapa - pretty ---> guapetona - very pretty

Tu amiga es muy guapetona.
Your friend is a very, very pretty.

Note: Feminine nouns generally take the suffix on and become masculine:

una taza - a cup---> un tazón: a really big cup, a mug

Necesito un tazón.
I need a really big cup.

una mujer - woman ---> un mujerón: a big, strong woman

Many people are not aware of this rule, so you will often hear sentences like the one below:

La enfermera es una mujerona.
The nurse is a big, strong woman.

Other augmentative terminations are: -azo, -acho, -onazo, -achón, -ote, -astro, -aco,

Augmentative terminations have no determinate meaning: they are vague and indefinite and consequently when preciseness is required we must use the adjectives "grande," "pequeño," etc. (which can be employed conjointly with the terminations), as:

Me dió dos librones gruesos y tres libritos delgados.
He gave me two heavy big books and three small ones.

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