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Quick answer
"Menor" is an adjective which is often translated as "smaller", and "familia" is a noun which is often translated as "family". Learn more about the difference between "menor" and "familia" below.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
1. (comparative)
a. smaller (in size)
Tengo que comprar una talla menor de pantalón.I need to buy these pants in a smaller size.
b. younger (in age)
Ella es menor que yo.She is younger than I am.
c. under (a certain age)
Los niños menores de 12 años no pagan.Children under 12 don't pay.
d. lower (in number, value)
Di un número menor de 15.Say a number lower than 15.
e. lesser (in quantity, importance)
La contaminación afecta a las urbes y, en menor medida, también a las zonas rurales.Pollution affects the cities and, to a lesser extent, rural areas too.
2. (superlative)
a. smallest (in size)
Dame el menor tomate que tengas, por favor.Give me the smallest tomato you have, please.
b. youngest (in age)
¿Cómo se llama tu hijo menor?What's the name of your youngest son?
c. lowest (in number, value)
De todas estas, ¿cuál es la cifra menor?Of all these, which is the lowest figure?
d. least (in quantity, importance)
Iba con retraso, pero ese era el menor de mis problemas.I was running late, but that was the least of my problems.
3. (minimal)
a. slightest
No te preocupes; no tiene la menor importancia.Don't worry; it doesn't have the slightest importance.
4. (secondary)
a. minor
La exposición incluye obras menores de Picasso.The exhibition contains minor works by Picasso.
5. (music)
a. minor
Mi pieza favorita de Mozart es la Gran Misa en do menor.Mi favorite of Mozart's works is the Great Mass in C minor.
This means that the noun can be masculine or feminine, depending on the gender of person it refers to (e.g. el doctor, la doctora).
6. (underage person)
a. minor
Los menores no pueden comprar alcohol.Minors are not allowed to buy alcohol.
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A feminine noun is almost always used with feminine articles and adjectives (e.g. la mujer bonita, la luna llena).
1. (relatives)
a. family
Me voy de vacaciones con mi familia.I'm going on vacation with my family.
2. (offspring)
a. family
¿Ya han pensado en tener familia?Have you thought about starting a family yet?
b. children
De momento no quieren tener familia.For the time being, they don't want to have children.
3. (lineage)
a. family
Mi padre viene de una familia de empresarios muy conocida.My father comes from a well-known family of entrepreneurs.
4. (group of related members)
a. family
El español, el italiano y el francés están en la misma familia lingüística.Spanish, Italian, and French are in the same linguistic family.
5. (biology)
a. family
Los mosquitos pertenecen a la familia de los dípteros.Mosquitoes belong to the Diptera family.
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