10 words that change meanings in Spanish from singular to plural.

Today’s quick Spanish class  we are going to talk about 10 words that change meanings depending on if they are being used in plural or singular. Learning Spanish can be difficult, but some of these words are used the same way in English, which will make them easier to learn!

Celo / Celos

Celo is a narrow strip of material, typically used to hold or fasten something (tape)

Ej: ¿Me das el celo para arreglar mi libro de español?


 Celos is the state or feeling of being jealous.

Ej: Mi novio habla mucho con María, por eso tengo celos.


Resto / Restos

Resto is the remaining part of something (rest)

Ej: Haz tú los tres primeros ejercicios de la clase gramática y yo haré el resto


Restos is mostly used when talking about a person’s body after death (remains).

Ej: Los restos de mi abuela están junto a los de mi abuelo


Humo / Humos

Humo is a visible suspension of carbon or the particles in air, typically one emitted from a burning substance.

Ej: En las terrazas españolas hay mucho humo porque los españoles fuman mucho


Humos is used colloquially as a way of referring to somebody’s bad temper.

Ej: El profesor de español se enfada enseguida  ¡Tiene unos humos!


Esposa / Esposas

Esposa is a married woman considered in relation to her spouse (wife)

Ej. Me casé con mi esposa el año pasado en Valencia.


Esposas is both the plural of esposa and also a pair of lockable linked metal rings for securing a prisoner’s wrists (handcuffs).

Ej: Al preso se pusieron las esposas por robar.


Bien / Bienes

This one is just like in English: while bien is that whic is morally right (good)

Ej: ¡Qué bien has hecho los ejercicios de español!


Bienes are merchandise or possessions (goods).

Ej. Yo no tengo muchos bienes… 🙁


Seno / Senos

Seno is the organ in the lower body of a woman or female mammal where offspring are conceived and in which they gestate before birth (womb) but it can also be the singuarl version of senos.

Ej. Cuando era una niña siempre me dormía sobre el seno de mi madre.

Senos are the soft, protrudiing organs on the upper front of a woman’s body which secrete milk after childbrith (breats).

Ej. A muchas mujeres les duelen los senos después de amamantar a sus bebes.

 Historia / Historias

Historia is the whole series of past events connected with a particular person or thing (history)

Ej: ¡Me encanta estudiar historia de España!


Historias is an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment (stories).

Ej:  Mi abuelo me contaba muchas historias sobre la guerra civil española.


Honor / Honores

Honor is the wuality of knowing and doing what is morally right (honour).

Ej: Es un honor trabajar para la Embajada española


 Honores is a special distinction for proficiency in an examination (honours).

Ej. Le dieron los honores por tener un perfecto español.

Polvo / Polvos

Polvo is a fine, dry powder consisting of tiny particles of earth or waste matter lying on the ground or on surfaces or carried in the air (dust).

Ej: En esta casa hay mucho polvo.


 Polvos are fine, dry particles produced by the grinding, crushing, or disintegration of a solid substance (powder).

Ej. Yo me pongo polvos de talco en los pies.


Deber / Deberes

Deber is a moral or legal obligation, a responsibility (duty)

Ej:  Los militares españoles, tienen el deber de defender al pueblo español


Deberes are schoolwork that a pupil is required to do at home (homework) but it can also be the plural of deber.

Ej: Hoy no puedo quedar, tengo muchos deberes de español.


Autor: Tania


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