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Spanish has so many different words for beautiful: linda, bella, hermosa, guapa, just to name a few. Do each of them have a slightly different meaning? What would I use when referring to a person vs. an object'

  • Posted Jul 2, 2009
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Spanish has so many different words for beautiful: linda, bella, hermosa, guapa, just to name a few. Do each of them have a slightly different meaning? What would I use when referring to a person vs. an object?

linda - pretty
bella - beauty (as in, she's a beauty)
hermosa - beautiful
guapa - handsome

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There is also,

bonita

That is the most common one that I use

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Preciosa is missing, perhaps the translation would be 'beautiful' too?

I could greet a woman using: 'preciosa', 'linda' or 'guapa', e.g. Hola preciosa/linda/guapa (personal treatment) and to use 'bella' or 'hermosa' to talk about e.g. a beauty queen.

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is it true that "bonita" is used for things and not so common for persons'

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is it true that "bonita" is used for things and not so common for persons?

It can be used for both people and things.

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English has so many different words for beautiful: charming, cute, dazzling, good-looking, gorgeous, handsome, lovely, beauteous, magnificent, nice, pretty, just to name a few. Do each of them have a slightly different meaning? What would I use when referring to a person vs. an object?

Without these words, languages would be extremely boring and limited, and we would be restricted to very simple and plain expressive repertoire. I, for one, am happy that both English and Spanish have many words to say "beautiful".

Where you see a problem, I see an expressive treasure (also known as thesaurus).

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I love all the words for beautiful in Spanish-- it is such an expressive language. Yet like English, each one has slightly different connotations. When talking about something beautiful-- for example, the Sistine Chapel-- I wouldn't want to describe it as "cute." Thus, I just didn't want to make the same mistake in Spanish. I suppose I should have clarified. smile

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But the Sistine Chapel can be regarded as beautiful, superb, fascinating, stunning, splendid, magnificent, lovely, exquisite, glorious, sublime,... These words are learnt by using them, not by reading dictionary definitions.

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But the Sistine Chapel can be regarded as beautiful, superb, fascinating, stunning, splendid, magnificent, lovely, exquisite, glorious, sublime,... These words are learnt by using them, not by reading dictionary definitions.

I am not as sure about English from England, but learnt is not used in modern American English. It would be 'learned' in the US.

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I am not as sure about English from England, but learnt is not used in modern American English. It would be 'learned' in the US.
"not used" is probably a bit of an overstatement (but if you'd settle for "not common" ...). When it comes to the past tense/participle of strong verbs the British are, on the whole, more conservative (or better educated'') than Americans.

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Samdie: What you said about American English is very true! However, in this case, I would tend to say that "learned" follows the grammatical pattern of adding "ed" to the past participle and is a much more regular and logical construction than "learnt."
According to Webster's dictionary: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/learn

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Yes, we should settle for "I runned" (I run), "I amed" (I was), "I taked" (I took), "I seed" (I saw), "I breaked" (I broke), "I readed" (I read), "I singed" (I sang)... That would be more logical!

In any case, "learnt" is more "British", yes: http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/learn

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How interesting! This post has gone on quite a tangent. I must give you that one. I suppose both Spanish and English have their verb irregularities! grin
Perhaps one explanation that I found for this: "learned" has also been traditionally used to describe someone who is educated. (pronounced lern-ed)

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In England we use "learned" all the time and "learnt" aswell depending upon what you are trying to express... rather than just the past tense.

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Learned is used in America, too, Mark.

The thing with Americans, mostly people in the southeast part of North America, is we use ALOT of slang, and chatspeak.

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