Build Your Vocabulary With Cognates

Did you know that you can build your vocabulary with cognates? Do you know what they are? They are nouns in the target language – the language you are learning – that have similar spelling and the same meaning as in your native language. So, those words already exist in your active vocabulary in your own language. Now, you just have to adapt them into the new language.

Cognates Ending in -Ty

Let’s take a look at those words in that end  in -ty in English and easily transform them into words in Portuguese. The ending in a word is called suffix. The suffix  -ty  in English is the equivalent to the suffix dade in Portuguese.

If you take the word Adversity in English, for instance, take off the suffix ty and add its equivalent in portuguese –dade, you will get the Portuguese word adversidade.  Let’s think of other words that end inty in English and go through the same process.


  • Adversi-ty   –  adversi + dade   = adversidade
  • Capaci-ty   –   capaci + dade     = capacidade
  • City            –  ci + dade              = cidade
  • Humani-ty –  humani + dade   = humanidade
  • Priori-ty  –  priori + dade      = prioridade
  • Universi-ty – universi + dade   = universidade

As you were able to see, it can be very simple. However, sometimes, you may need to make some minor changes in the English word, so it can become a Portuguese word. In Portuguese, there are no words with double m. The only letters that double in Portuguese are the R and the S. So, to transform the word community into its equivalent in Portuguese – comunidade, you will need to eliminate one of the m’s and then add the –dade: communi-ty – comunidade. The same thing goes for opportunity which is oportunidade in Portuguese, you need to eliminate one of the “p’s” .

Let’s look at the English word honesty; the equivalent word in Portuguese is honestidade.  So, in this case you need to keep the t, plus turn the y into an i, and then add the -dade: honest-y – honest + i + dadehonestidade.

Keep on adding more words to your vocabulary this way, just make sure to check the dictionary for the correct spelling.


Thank you for checking this post. You might want to check the other posts on the Starter Guide.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top