15

The word is sabroso and am wondering which is the correct diminutive form?

  • Sabrocita, or
  • Sabrosita

I've seen both used in writings, names of restaurants, etc. Is there a rule?

11
  • Very good question. "-cito" is a very common diminutive ending but I thing the rule is that the words that end in 'o' usually loose the 'o' and get the ending '-ito' like "vaso=vas-ito" so I'd say the answer is "sabros-ito".
    – DGaleano
    May 8 '17 at 21:51
  • Great, you should make that an answer!
    – lucuma
    May 8 '17 at 21:54
  • 1
    Por cierto, ¡bienvenido a Spanish Language! Nótese que puedes preguntar tanto en inglés como en castellano. Esperamos verte de nuevo :) May 8 '17 at 22:29
  • @fedorqui cuando mis conocidos latinos no sepan la respuesta, preguntaré aquí.
    – lucuma
    May 8 '17 at 22:32
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    @lucuma y en el de esta semana aprendí la palabra Chicanery. En Colombia hemos usado por siempre la palabra chicanear pero no tenia ni idea que existiera una palabra similar en inglés.
    – DGaleano
    May 9 '17 at 18:02
7

"-cito" is a very common diminutive ending; however, the general rule is that words that end in '-o' usually lose the '-o', to have it replaced with '-ito'. Similarly, the diminutive of words that end in '-a' is usually '-ita'. Plurals that end in '-os' and '-as' are changed to '-itos' and '-itas', respectively. So, for example, vasovasito, tacostaquitos, plumaplumita.

There are exceptions to this rule, however, such as 'sofá' → 'sofacito', 'manos' → 'manitas'.

Since one can find many instances of the diminutive written with c and there is nothing about it published by the RAE, I used ngram as a source of empirical evidence; this is what I found: "sabrosito" is used a lot and "sabrocito" is rarely used. It's safe to assume that the latter is not right.

Searching for an official source I found this interesting article published by fundeu which mentions these rules:

Es verdad que una de las formas de construir los diminutivos es agregar el sufijo -cito, con c, como en avioncito, noviecito y Carmencita, pero si la palabra original termina en s, se mantiene la s y se agrega -ito, como en Andresito y Luisitos.

As stated in the same article, this does not apply to plurals:

En este caso se debe partir del sustantivo singular mamá, cuyo diminutivo es mamacita, y ahí sí agregar la -s para formar los plurales, mamás y mamacitas.

Given this it is easy to see why words ended in "so" will form the diminutive this way. It would not make sense to remove the '-o' and add '-cito'.

link

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7
  • 2
    I asked some native speakers first and they didn't know either! Just searching for "sabrocita" turns up a plethora of Mexican restaurants and made me hungry.
    – lucuma
    May 8 '17 at 21:56
  • @lucuma that's right. It is a good question. It made me think for a while. i did the same and It seems like restaurant owners do not check spelling before naming their businesses :-)
    – DGaleano
    May 8 '17 at 22:04
  • 3
    @lucuma I assume this is because in Hispanoamérica both letters sound the same, and hence the confusion. There is no reason for this to have a c instead of s. It comes from sabroso, with s, so the diminutive has to follow that. May 8 '17 at 22:09
  • I would like to point out that there a few others diminutives in Spanish such as "sabrocete", "sabrosin", and "sabrosillo". About the grammar rule, you change and ending "a" or "o" to "ita" or "ito" respectively, unless the accent is on that final vowel, in which case you append "cito" or "cita". For example: "sofá" -> "sofacito" - Addendum: I find it odd to use these diminutives in writing.
    – Theraot
    May 9 '17 at 12:47
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    @Gorpik Yes, I was talking specifically of words ending in "a" or "o"
    – Theraot
    May 9 '17 at 21:51
14

If the last syllable of the word includes the letter s, the diminutive is formed by adding -ito to the end of the word and preserving the s:

  • Vaso: vasito
  • Hueso: huesito
  • Oso: osito
  • Casa: casita
  • Sabroso: sabrosito (example word)

Otherwise the diminutives are formed by adding -cito/a to the end of the word:

  • Arroz: arrocito
  • Café: cafecito
  • Pobre: pobrecito / pobrecita
  • Despacio: despacito
8
  • This is the right answer.
    – agamesh
    May 9 '17 at 7:32
  • 1
    i honestly dont know if it's proper spanish, but i also hear and use cafeLito as diminutive of café.
    – Brian H.
    May 9 '17 at 11:11
  • just did some investigation, official diminutive for café is cafelito. dle.rae.es/?id=6bUj4zZ ;)
    – Brian H.
    May 9 '17 at 11:17
  • Why is this answer better than the accepted one?
    – lucuma
    May 9 '17 at 13:07
  • Because the accepted answer is a graph of how a word has been written more times, it is not a grammatically acceptable answer. Although this is not an answer at all acceptable is the closest to the right
    – Marco
    May 9 '17 at 13:11
3

This is explained in ¿Cafesito o cafecito? La ortografía de los diminutivos:

Si la palabra de origen tiene ese en la última sílaba, la conserva en la terminación -ito, -ita; si no lleva ese debe usarse -cito, -cita. En los casos en que el primitivo lleva zeta ésta se convierte en ce.

That is:

If the original word has S in the last syllable, it keeps it in the endings -ito/a; if it does not have S, -cito/a must be used. In the cases where the original has Z, this becomes C.

So you have:

  • peso → pesito
  • botón → botoncito
  • tenaza → tenacita

It is also interesting to read Reglas ortográficas para formar diminutivos regulares e irregulares. There we read about the basics of this topic:

Los diminutivos son sufijos o morfemas que no cuentan con un significado propio, pero que al agregarse a la raíz —o sea, a la palabra— logran que ésta se transforme en otra.

And makes us see the underlying idea: sabroso is the word and sabros the root to which we add the suffix. So the s at the end does not change no matter what suffix we add to it. We can say sabroso, sabrosón, sabrosísimo or whatever, all of them having the common stem sabros, not sabroc.

This is kind of errors come often from Hispanic America, where s and c are pronounced the same way /s/. In Spain we do distinguish these sounds, so the word sabrocito would not sound fine; however, in those countries both sabrosito and sabrocito have the same sound /sabrosito/.

2
  • 1
    Of course, that explanation is valid just to tell whether we have to use -c- or -s-; it does not mean that all diminutives have to use one of these two letters.
    – Gorpik
    May 9 '17 at 14:39
  • I was not able to find any "official" source but if you have not found one yet, then I feel fine. :-)
    – DGaleano
    May 9 '17 at 16:37
-1

As others have shown, the version with the S is the correct one. I will offer a conjecture as to why the version with C is also common.

First reason: Large swaths of Spanish speakers, at least in Mexico, the Spanish-speaking country I know well, have rather vague ideas about correct spelling. I think this is at least partly because when you are working with a language whose spelling is so straightforward for the most part, you can get away with just sounding things out and not having to bother learning correct spelling.

Second reason: there are lots of common words whose correct spelling ends with '-cito' and '-cita'. So people get in the habit of spelling the ending sound with a C, without stopping to think about which one would be logically correct, based on the original word.

Examples:

  • Mamacita, Papacito

  • pobrecito

  • grandecita

  • pancito

7
  • 1
    Last one would be panecito or panecillo. Not pancito :). -A native speaker
    – Vers
    May 9 '17 at 7:22
  • @Vers Some diminutives change from Spain to other countries. For instance, in Spain the diminutive of pie would be piececito, but in other Spanish speaking countries it is piecito. I suspect the same may well happen to pan and pancito/panecito.
    – Gorpik
    May 9 '17 at 14:33
  • Could happen. Adding insight is not meaningless though.
    – Vers
    May 9 '17 at 15:04
  • Sorry @Vers in Colombia we never say panecillo/panecito. Here the word we use is pancito. Both are correct. Most of us are native speakers but that is not good enough to say something is right or wrong. We speak from our experience and knowledge but we try to find sources that support our claims. It is good to have you here contributing to the forum. Please complete your profile, then read the forum rules and keep contributing. Welcome.
    – DGaleano
    May 9 '17 at 16:34
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    I believe that your generalization is wrong. It is true that s and c (followed by e or i) sound exactly the same way in Mexico. However, that doesn't mean that, in general, people doesn't have a clue about the right spelling. Nevertheless, if you provide some references that back your conjecture up, we'll be leaving the belief domain and I'll have to accept you response as valid.
    – Krauss
    May 10 '17 at 7:25
-1

The correct ending for this word is -sito. Ending -cito is probably more common in Latin America but for me is incorrect and very unusual in Spain

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