Can You Identify the Correct Spelling of These Spanish Vocabulary Words?



By: Laura DeFazio

6 Min Quiz

Image: Terry Vine / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Spelling in Spanish can be trickier than in English. Even though the alphabet is basically the same (plus one letter; which you can find out about by taking the quiz), there are several types of accents, and misplacing them can change the entire meaning of a word. For example, “el” means “the,” but “él” means “he.”

Accents aside, entire consonants and vowels are pronounced differently, and if you don’t know the rules, it’s hard to guess the spelling of a word. Sounding it out phonetically may take you entirely in the wrong direction. Do you know what the letter J sounds like in Spanish? You will by the end of this quiz. What about two Rs in a row? How is that different than one R? What about two Ls in a row? What about a Y standing by itself? Is that a word?

If you’re going to learn a second language, some would contend that Spanish is the best choice. It originated in Spain, but it’s also the official language across the vast majority of central and South America. It’s the second-most spoken language in the U.S., second only to English.

Mastering a language’s spelling is a great way to hone your pronunciation and improve your vocabulary. Scroll down to start this quiz and test your knowledge!

If you meet a Spanish speaker, the first thing you should probably do is say hello. Most people know how to say hello in Spanish. But can you spell it?

The "h" is silent, so the word is pronounced "OH-la." Not to be confused with "¡olé!" That's an interjection commonly used by riled up Spanish bullfighters (matadores) in the ring. Did you notice that punctuation? When a sentence ends with an exclamation point or a question mark, it's also preceded by the same punctuation mark, upside down.


This is a fruit and a color in English. In Spanish, it just refers to the fruit. How do you spell it?

Naranja is pronounced "nah-RAHN-ha," so if you guessed the first option, you were close. This is the name for the orange fruit. The color orange, if you were wondering, is anaranjado ("ah-nah-rahn-ha-do"), otherwise known as the five-syllable bane of every elementary school language learner's existence.


Do you know what Spanish speakers call man's waggily-tailed best friend? Can you spell it?

In Spanish, "dog" is "perro," pronounced "PAY-roh"... Well, sort of like that. Every time you see two Rs in a row, you roll them. Learning to roll your Rs in speech is a big part of speaking like a native. The word "pero," as you might remember from before, means "but."


Can you spell "Spanish" ... in Spanish?

Pronounced "ess-pahn-yole." The wiggly line over the N is called a "tilde" (till-day). However, don't think of Ñ as a regular N with an accent; it's a whole separate letter. As you see above, it makes a sound like N and Y combined. Spanish uses the letter N too, and it's pronounced within a word the same as our letter N. Confused yet? One more thing: in English, we always capitalize language names. En español, language names are only capitalized at the beginning of a sentence.


Do you know the correct Spanish spelling for the guy who's married to your aunt?

¡El tío! "The uncle." Maybe you have a favorite uncle, maybe you have a creepy uncle, maybe you don't have any uncles at all. Either way, it's a good word to know. "The aunt" is "la tía." When uncle and aunt are plurals, you use "los" and "las" instead of "el" and "la."


This is a favorite activity of pop stars, church choirs and tone-deaf roommates who can't keep quiet in the shower. How do you spell it?

In Spanish, the verb "to sing" is "cantar." Spanish verbs can be confusing for native English speakers, because they're conjugated differently for different subject pronouns. "I sing" is "canto," but you/we/he/she/you all/they all have different endings.


Traditionally, Spain was a predominantly a Roman Catholic country and remains so to this day, albeit to a lesser extent. Can you spell the day of the week that Catholics go to church?

Starting with Monday, the other days of the week are lunes, martes, miércoles, jueves, viernes and sábado. (Well, "y sabado," if we want to keep it all in Spanish.) Remember how we said that language names aren't capitalized in Spanish? The days of the week aren't either. Same goes with months and names of religions.


You might buy it new or used, you might use it to get to work in the morning or for a family road trip. It'll slowly cost you a fortune in gasoline. Can you spell this common possession in Spanish?

In Spain, a car is a coche (pronounced "CO-chay.") In Latin America, it's more common to hear the term "carro." As is English, the word auto (pronounced "OW-toe") works too, although it's not as common.


This vegetable might make you cry. Do you know how to spell it in Spanish?

Pronounced "say-BOY-a," cebolla is the Spanish word for onion. When a word contains two Ls in a row, they're pronounced like the letter Y in English. When Y is behaving as a consonant, that is.


You probably spent a lot more time here than you wanted to as a child. Maybe you even learned some Spanish here! (Or maybe you were just staring out the window thinking about recess ...) How do you spell this place?

La escuela is how you say "the school" in Spanish. Here, your profesores might have taught you all about las matemáticas, la sciencia, la historia y el inglés. Maybe you studied a little español, or perhaps el francés was the foreign language you learned.


Don't forget about all the little words; they're crucial for putting a language together. Earlier we mentioned the Spanish word for "and" in an answer explanation. Do you remember how to spell it?

The word for "and" is pretty simple. It's just "y" (pronounced "ee"), but (pero), there are lots of other conjunctions you should know if (si) you want to speak Spanish like a pro. You can learn mientras (while) you're taking this quiz if you're paying attention, o (or) you can let it all go in one ear and out the other.


This mode of transportation has traditionally been favored by bad boys, modern cowboys and Hell's Angels. Do you know how to spell it in Spanish?

"The motorcycle" is "la motocicleta" in Spanish, or "la moto" for short. Typically, nouns that end in "o" are masculine and take on the masculine form of "the," which is "el." In this case, moto uses the feminine "la," as it's a shortened version of a feminine noun.


There's "day," and then there's this. Do you know how to spell the word for the darker hours?

The word for "night" in Spanish is pronounced "NO-chay." If you chose the last option, come on now — that's Italian for potato pasta. Mamma mia! Let's stick to one language at a time. The Spanish word for "day" is "día," pronounced "DEE-ah."


They're tall and leafy, great for shade or firewood. How do you spell the word in Spanish?

The Spanish word for tree is another one with the stress in an unusual place, hence the accent on the A. The plural is "árboles." The word for "forest" is "bosque," "leaf" is "hoja" and "flower" is "flor."


Do you know the correct spelling for something you can borrow for free from a library?

You can borrow un libro (a book) from la biblioteca (the library.) Now it gets a little confusing: if you'd prefer to own your libro, you'd visit la libraría (the bookstore) instead. They're easy to confuse for English speakers, but libraría doesn't mean "library"!


These people aren't technically your family, but you presumably like them a lot and hang out with them often. Can you spell the word in Spanish?

¡Tus amigos! I.e. your friends. The word is pronounced "ah-MEE-gos." If all the friends you're referring to are female, you can use the word "amigas" instead. "Amigos" can refer to an all-male group or a group of mixed genders.


Do you know how to spell the word for that wet stuff we drink, bathe and swim in?

Agua, agua everywhere. If you want "to drink" it, that's "beber." If you'd prefer "to swim," that verb's "nadar." A bathtub is a bañera, and a shower is a ducha. Agua is an unusual word because it's masculine but ends in "a."


Can you spell the Spanish word for that hot caffeinated stuff people drink in the morning?

Ah, good old café. Most of us would be zombies without it. ("Zombi," by the way, is how you spell zombie in Spanish.) In Spain, a pitcher of hot milk is usually served alongside a pot of coffee and people will fill their cups with half of each.


People stay at these establishments when they go on vacation, so it's a useful word to know if you're traveling to a Spanish-speaking country. Can you spell it?

That's right; the word is spelled exactly the same in Spanish as it is in English. When speaking though, the "h" is silent. If you're traveling on a budget, hostels can be a cheaper option. That's spelled the same way too.


This six-string instrument is a perennial favorite in Spain, Latin America and the US alike. It isn't spelled too differently en español, but can you guess which spelling is correct?

Spanish guitar, in addition to being a specific type of guitar, refers to the distinctive and much-admired playing style often synonymous with flamenco guitar. Flamenco is an art-form involving song, dance, clapping, snapping and guitar. It originated in southern Spain from a fusion of Iberian, Moorish, Jewish and Romani cultures.


This is the word for "soccer" in Spanish, although it looks and sounds like a different sport in English. Do you know which spelling is correct?

That's right, in Spanish, "soccer" is fútbol, pronounced "foo-t-bowl." Soccer is huge in the Spanish-speaking world. Football, on the other hand, is called "fútbol americano" in Spanish. (I'm sure you can guess that this translates to "American football.")


The verb "to speak" is a useful one to know in Spanish, especially if you need to let somebody know that you don't speak Spanish. Which option is spelled correctly?

The verb "hablar" is pronounced "ah-BLAR." If you want to say "I speak Spanish," you'd say "Hablo español." If you wish to convey the opposite, say: "No hablo español." If you want to say that you only speak a little Spanish, you'd say "Solo hablo un poco español."


Which is the correct spelling for the Spanish verb "to walk"?

Pronounced "ahn-DAR," this is one of the necessary verbs for a Spanish student to learn. "Caminar" is a synonym, and both words are used frequently. Like all Spanish verbs, they're conjugated differently depending on the subject pronoun: I, you, he, she, etc.


Money. The reason most of us go to work in the morning. Sigh. How do you spell the Spanish word for it?

"Dinero" is the Spanish word for the green stuff, pronounced "dee-NAYR-oh." Hopefully, you didn't choose De Niro, he's an actor, and if you said Daenerys, c'mon guys. Game of Thrones is over. Time to move on. Unless somebody's come out with a Spanish version ... El Juego de Tronos would probably be a great way to beef up your vocabulary.


If you're taking this quiz, you must know how to read. But how well can you read Spanish? Can you spell the verb "to read"?

That's right, "leer" is how you spell the verb "to read" in Spanish. It doesn't have anything to do with the creepy, malevolent or lusty look the word refers to in English, nor is it pronounced the same. In Spanish, it's pronounced "lay-AIR."


Eating is important. Do you know the Spanish word "to eat," and can you spell it?

"Comer" is the Spanish word "to eat," pronounced "koh-MAYR." ¿Te gustas comer (do you like to eat) Spanish dishes? Paella, flan, tortillas, gazpacho, tacos and enchiladas are some popular foods from Spain and Latin America.


Hopefully you're learning a lot about Spanish spelling by taking this quiz. Can you spell the word "to learn"?

The word aprender (ah-pren-DAYR) is "to learn" in Spanish. "To teach" is enseñar. Both things happen en la escuela, a word you might remember from earlier, and they continue after high school at la universidad.


Maybe you play it, maybe you just enjoy listening. Can you spell the Spanish word for "music"?

This word is pronounced "MOO-see-ka," with the emphasis (as indicated by the accent) on the first syllable. The verb "to play" (as in, "to play an instrument") is "tocar," and the verb "to listen" is "escuchar".


Whether you're a writer, a coal miner or a bullfighter, work is hard. Can you spell the word "to work" in Spanish?

"Trabajar" is pronounced "tra-ba-HAR," as the letter J is pronounced like an H in English. Typically a bit stronger and harsher than our English H though; you'll need to expel a little more air. Arabic has similarly strong H sounds.


Open and shut this to get into and out of your house. Then, choose the correct spelling.

Puerta, or "door," is pronounced "PWAYR-tah." It's a typical, female-gendered word, so "the door" is "la puerta." Not to be confused with "puerto," which means port. The US territory of Puerto Rico translates to "rich port."


This is the word for "shop" or "store." Do you know how to spell it?

Pronounced "tee-YEN-dah," this word is a common one. You might see a tienda de ropa (clothing store) or a tienda de regalos (gift shop). This usually refers to smaller establishments, whereas large department stores would be referred to as grandes almacenes.


It rises in the east and sets in the west, and life on Earth wouldn't exist without it. How do you spell it en español?

The Spanish way to say "the sun" is "el sol," pronounced like our word "soul" in English. The moon is "la luna," and the stars are "las estrellas." All these things are up in el cielo, which is also the word for "heaven" in the religious sense.


Brrr! Can you spell the year's coldest season in Spanish?

El invierno is the winter. It's pronounced "in-vee-AYR-no." If you live somewhere cold enough, this is the time of year you'll see la nieve falling from the sky. Summer is "verano," spring is "primavera" and fall is "otoño."


Can you identify the correct spelling for the Spanish word for "people"?

"La gente" is Spanish for "the people." The G is pronounced like an H, so gente sounds like "HEN-tay." "Mujer" is the Spanish word for woman and "hombre" is man. However, if you're in a Mexican restaurant looking for the bathroom, the signs will probably say "Damas" and "Caballeros" for "ladies" and "gentlemen."


Can you spell the Spanish word for "goodbye"?

"Hola" is hello, "adiós" is goodbye. There's always an accent on the "O" in this word, because the final syllable is stressed, and this breaks the default pronunciation convention. Anyway, ¡adiós! Hopefully, you learned a little bit about Spanish spelling. If you weren't already a whiz, that is.


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