By Anthony / April 15, 2017

Yes learning Spanish can be hard, but..

Despite what you might have heard, it can be hard to learn Spanish.

Even after you take classes and study endless word charts you still can't say much. It's not that you don't know how the language works, it just that in the heat of a conversation you can't remember any words! (Ask me how I know)

Suddenly all that study and hard work seems...pointless

Here's the thing...

If you want to speak Spanish you need to have words to say. The more you have the more you can speak. 

To learn fast you're going to want to use every Spanish learning hack in the book. After all life is short and you only want to spend your time and energy doing things that will help you speak (the sooner the better).

Luckily there are some general rules that can increase your Spanish vocabulary almost instantly.  In fact I made a list of 10 of the most common.

I'm going to walk you through 1 of them that will help you learn at least 100 words in one minute. Don't believe me? Get ready to start your watch!

Work smarter not harder

Learn hundreds of word fast with Spanish Cognates

The rules I'm talking about are for Spanish and English cognates. If you haven't heard of cognates here's a quick rundown.

Cognates are words from two different languages that share a common root word from another third language. Because both Spanish and English are both heavily influenced by Latin they share thousands of words that are very similar, and even identical to each other. 

These words usually follow a rule or pattern so that it is easy to remember them. So I'm going to share with you one of rules I find the most useful.

Are you ready?

...Ok start the clock!

Spanish Rule: -ly = -mente

English -ly endings usually become Spanish -mente endings. Here's an example:

Take the English word exactly. To say exactly in Spanish simply drop the -ly and ad -mente to make exactamente.

Easy right? Here's another:

The English word normally. Drop the -ly and ad the -mente ending and you get normalmente.

It's a breeze!

Here's a quick list of some other Spanish words that use this rule:​

-Ly to -Mente Rule

English -ly endings usually become Spanish -mente endings

​English Word





Negatively ​

Positively ​






​Spanish Equivalent 












A few notes:

The spelling can change slightly from English to Spanish. (Notice secretly becomes secretAmente). Also there are the occasional false cognates where the words look the same but are different. (actualmente really means currently in Spanish. It does not mean actually). But other than that this rule is straight forward and a great rule of thumb to follow!

Life is easier with Spanish Cognates

There literally hundreds of Spanish words that use this rule. See a more complete list here. It's amazing how one rule can increase your vocabulary by hundreds of words! In reality you're not learning the words from scratch. Instead you're making a connection to hundreds of words that you have already learned in English. 

...And that's how you learn hundreds of Spanish words in 1 minute. 

 The good news is that there are more rules just like this one, and they cover more than just adverbs ending in -ly. Here's a list of 10 that cover nouns, adverbs, verbs, and adjectives. 

These grammar rules will help you speed up fluency and strengthen your vocabulary. Learning Spanish does take work, but why work harder than you have to? Happy Spanish Hacking!

About the author


Coffee drinker, Spanish speaker, habitual traveler, taking life one beautiful day at a time.


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