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Lindo, bonito, hermoso, bello

What’s the difference in Spanish between lindo, bonito, and hermoso? Let’s learn a bunch of new Spanish adjectives, including the words for “beautiful”, “important”, “strange”, and “funny”.

Full Podcast Episode


¡Qué lindo!

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to learn some very handy Spanish adjectives, including words for “cute”, “beautiful”, and “perfect”.

Let’s start with some words that tend to be used in the same way that the adjective importante is used. So remember this sentence structure that we’ve practiced:

It’s important that they arrive on time.

Es importante que lleguen a tiempo.

Another adjective that can easily fit this template is extraño, which means “strange”. This is spelled with an eñe, the letter N with a little squiggle over it. So it’s e-x-t-r-a-ñ-o. Extraño. Here’s an example:

It’s strange that they aren’t here.

Es extraño que no estén aquí.

And then the word for “funny” is gracioso, spelled g-r-a-c-i-o-s-o. Gracioso. So for example:

It’s funny that she doesn't see him!

¡Es gracioso que no lo vea!

Note that this word, gracioso, only means “funny” as in “humorous”, not as in “strange”. Sometimes in English we say “it’s funny that she doesn’t see him” when what we mean is that it’s “surprising” or “strange” that she doesn’t see him. Gracioso is used only when we mean that it’s humorous.

Also, both of these words, extraño and gracioso, aren’t only used in that sentence template; they can also be used simply to describe something. For example:

It was a weird story, but it seemed funny to me.

Fue una historia extraña, pero me pareció graciosa.

Let’s practice extraño and gracioso.

They are drinking something strange.

Están tomando algo extraño.

Meet that girl! She is really funny.

¡Conoce a esa chica! Es muy graciosa.

It’s strange that you think it’s funny.

Es extraño que creas que es gracioso.

I want her to meet him and drink something with him.

Quiero que lo conozca y tome algo con él.

I don’t think it’s strange, I think it’s funny.

No creo que sea extraño, creo que es gracioso.

All right, now let’s talk about how to describe something as nice or beautiful in Spanish. Spanish actually has many very common ways to describe something as pleasant or cute or good-looking, and it’s impossible to find perfect English translations for any of them, but I’ll try to summarize some of the nuanced differences between them.

Probably the most-frequently-used of these terms is lindo. You’ll use this all the time to describe something or someone as good-looking or cute. So for example, if you see someone look at a photo and then exclaim ¡Qué lindo!, it’s possible that they’re looking at a picture of a dog, or maybe they’re looking at a newly decorated room.

Another common term is bonito, which basically means the same thing. Here’s an example that uses the verb Verse, which means “to look” a certain way.

His sister looks very pretty.

Su hermana se ve muy bonita.

Now, when either of these words is used with a noun, it can go either before or after the noun; for example, bonita casa and casa bonita mean the same thing. However, if you’re saying “what a pretty house”, you’re actually likely to stick the word tan in there. Here’s an example that uses both bonita and linda:

What a pretty house! It looks very cute.

¡Qué casa tan bonita! Se ve muy linda.

Now, to be clear, either lindo or bonito can be translated as either “pretty” or “cute”. However, for the purposes of our quizzing today, we’ll generally translate “pretty” as bonito and “cute” as lindo. So try this yourself in these next two examples:

She has a very cute dog(m).

Tiene un perro muy lindo.

Yesterday I went back to the pretty place.

Ayer volví al bonito lugar.

Our next word is hermoso, which is spelled h-e-r-m-o-s-o, but of course the H at the beginning is silent. Hermoso. Here’s an example:

Yes, I know, she is gorgeous.

Sí, lo sé, ella es hermosa.

This word, more than the other two, tends to be used to emphasize the looks of someone or something as beautiful. However, all three words, lindo, bonito, and hermoso, can also just refer to something as “lovely”. In fact, the word “lovely”, in English, is translated almost equally as any of these three adjectives. For the purposes of our quizzing, we’ll avoid the word “lovely”, and we’ll generally translate “cute” as lindo, “pretty” as bonito, and “gorgeous” as hermoso.

There’s just one more word in this category to learn, and it’s the word bello, spelled b-e-l-l-o. Bello. The nice thing about this word is that it DOES have a literal translation: “beautiful”. And in our quizzing, we’ll stick to that translation. For example:

You have a beautiful baby(m).

Tienes un bello bebé.

Let’s practice translating “cute” as lindo, “pretty” as bonito, “gorgeous” as hermoso, and “beautiful” as bello.

I’ll wear pretty clothes.

Llevaré ropa bonita.

I don’t think it’s pretty, I think it’s gorgeous.

No creo que sea bonito, creo que es hermoso.

Have you seen this beautiful thing?

¿Has visto esta cosa bella?

That’s a cute baby(m).

Ese es un bebé lindo.

When we met for the first time, she was beautiful.

Cuando nos conocimos, ella era bella.

Dog number seventeen is cute.

El perro número diecisiete es lindo.

I didn’t know this place, it’s gorgeous.

No conocía este lugar, es hermoso.

We’ll see each other in the gorgeous place at two thirty.

Nos vemos en el lugar hermoso a las dos y media.

We can put the pretty dogs in order.

Podemos poner a los perros bonitos en orden.

I think this is cute, but that is beautiful.

Creo que esto es lindo, pero eso es bello.

All right, to wrap up, we’re going to learn just a few more words that are pretty easy to use. The Spanish word for “poor” is pobre. For example:

I didn’t know that they were so poor.

No sabía que eran tan pobres.

In English, we sometimes use “poor” to mean that someone lacks money, and sometimes we use it just to express pity. In Spanish this happens too, in a specific way: To use pobre in the literal sense, to indicate that someone lacks money, you’ll put it after the noun. But you can use it before a noun to express pity. For example:

Where did he go? Poor dog!

¿A dónde fue? ¡Pobre perro!

Our next word is tranquilo, which means something like “calm” or “tranquil”. This is spelled t-r-a-n-q-u-i-l-o. So for example:

It was a very calm day.

Fue un día muy tranquilo.

Now the reason that this word is so common is because it’s very often used as an exclamation to tell someone to calm down or not to worry. Let’s say you’re talking with a worried mother who doesn’t know where her children are. You might say:

Don’t worry(f)! They’re with their brother.

¡Tranquila! Están con su hermano.

Notice that it changed to tranquila. If you’re talking to a group of people, you’ll use tranquilos or tranquilas.

Now, this begs the question: How do you know whether to translate “don’t worry” as tranquilo or as no te preocupes? In context, tranquilo is more often used if you’re in a hurry, since it’s faster to say, but no te preocupes is almost a little more formal.

In our quizzing, what we’ll do is we’ll translate “don’t worry” as no te preocupes, and for tranquilo, we’ll use “calm down”. (This isn’t really a great translation, because “calm down” comes across as pretty harsh in English, whereas tranquilo is generally a very nice and calm thing to say in Spanish; this is just to help make our quizzing easier.)

Our last word is a very easy one: The Spanish word for “perfect” is perfecto. So for example:

This house is perfect.

Esta casa es perfecta.

Let’s practice pobre, tranquilo, and perfecto.

I know him! Poor dude!

¡Lo conozco! ¡Pobre tipo!

Calm down(m)! He isn’t taking a gun with him.

¡Tranquilo! No lleva un arma con él.

I don’t care if she is poor, she is perfect.

No me importa si es pobre, es perfecta.

(f) Calm down! The poor dog(m) is just scared.

¡Tranquila! El pobre perro solo tiene miedo.

(Plural) Calm down! This way it’s perfect.

¡Tranquilos! Así es perfecto. 

The average this week is twenty, so that’s perfect.

La media esta semana es de veinte, entonces eso es perfecto.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/158. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

They don’t know me and that’s why they’re going crazy.

No me conocen y por eso se vuelven locos.

I want to know a pretty place.

Quiero conocer un lugar bonito.

Take this and bring it with you to the party.

Toma esto y llévalo contigo a la fiesta.

You don’t know him, that’s why I don’t want him to drink anything with you.

No lo conoces, por eso no quiero que tome nada contigo.

The poor boy didn’t know his family.

El pobre chico no conocía a su familia.

We didn’t have any losses this week; that’s perfect.

No tuvimos ninguna baja esta semana, eso es perfecto.

Half of the people were strange and the other half funny.

La mitad de las personas fueron extrañas y la otra mitad graciosas.

He took his phone and brought it to that beautiful place.

Tomó su teléfono y lo llevó a ese lugar bello.

Do you want to take the rest with you? It’s beautiful.

¿Quieres llevar el resto contigo? Es bello.

If you take sixteen, I take the rest and it’ll be perfect.

Si llevas dieciséis, yo llevo el resto y será perfecto.

The people there are poor, but the place is gorgeous.

La gente ahí es pobre, pero el lugar es hermoso.

It’s strange that the order isn’t perfect.

Es extraño que el orden no sea perfecto.

I met him yesterday and I really wanted to meet him.

Lo conocí ayer y de verdad quería conocerlo.

He met nineteen new friends in that gorgeous place.

Conoció a diecinueve amigos nuevos en ese lugar hermoso.

She thinks it is funny when he drinks coffee.

Ella cree que es gracioso cuando él toma café.

This is the prettiest place I’ve known.

Este es el lugar más bonito que he conocido.

Look at this picture! How cute!

¡Mira esta foto! ¡Qué lindo!

She doesn’t know me, but I want her to know me.

No me conoce, pero quiero que me conozca.

Calm down(m)! You can’t take that, you’ve already taken eighteen.

¡Tranquilo! No puedes tomar eso, ya has tomado dieciocho.

When you met them, they were cute.

Cuando los conociste, eran lindos.

She wants to meet you because we know you.

Quiere conocerte porque nosotros te conocemos.

(f) Calm down! We just need the length of the bed.

¡Tranquila! Solo necesitamos el largo de la cama.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/158.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn some new words for places, including the words for “building” and “office”.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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