Saturday, July 31, 2010

Simple Word Formation - Creating Nouns from Verbs

Spanish has an interesting way of creating some nouns from verbs. If you recall, a lot of nouns in the Spanish language end in either -o or -a, and are mainly masculine or feminine, respectively. You can actually take a lot of Spanish verbs and turn them into nouns ending in -o or -a, by conjugating the verb into the first or third person singular. You must memorize which way to convert these verbs to nouns.

For example, take the verb aumentar - to increase. Conjugating it into the first person singular, we can now turn it into a noun:

el aumento the increase


Other common verbs that are turned into nouns using the first person or third person singular are:

esperar la espera - waiting, as in "waiting" room

charlar la charla - chat, as in "let's have a chat"

ayudar la ayuda - help, as in "I need help."

volar el vuelo - flight, as in "When's the flight?"

regresar el regreso - return, as in "Upon her return..."

fracasar el fracaso - failure, as in "failure to communicate"

encontrar el encuentro - the meeting/match, as in "the match was well played"

gastar el gasto - the expense, as in "household expense"



One verb that reflects a minor phonetic change is the verb practicar, which carries an accent on the first syllable when changed into a noun:

practicar la práctica - practice, as in "Practice is at 2PM."


Forming nouns out of verbs is one of the key steps in establishing an understanding of the Spanish language. If it's a verb that doesn't appear on the list above, and you try to make a noun out of it, you'll find out from a Spanish speaker the correct word you're trying to get across. If anything, at least you tried!


Sigue estudiando,

Professor Joel

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