Spanish Language Blog

Using the letter G corrrectly. Posted by on Jun 15, 2009 in Spanish Vocabulary

As posted earlier, choosing between the letters g and j in Spanish is no easy task, so here are some more tips to help you.

Use g with:

1. words that start with:

– gest-, gene- o geni-, except jenízaro (child born from parents of different nationalities) and jeniquén (a kind of plant): gesto – gestar – género – genétic

– leg-, except lejía (bleach): legendario – legislar – legítima – legionario

2. words ending in:

– gen, -gélico, -gético, -genario, -génico, -genio, -gésimo, -gesimal, -génito and their feminine forms, with the exception of jején and comején: origen – angélico – cinegenética – nonagenario – transgénico – homogéneo – primigenia – vigésimo – sexagesimal – congénita

– gente y – gencia: inteligente – agente – diligencia – indigencia

–gia, -gio, -gión, -gional, -ginal, -gionario, -gioso, -gírico and their feminine forms: magia – marginal – regio – legionario – legión – prodigioso – regional – panegírico

However, words that contain a hiatus are written with a j: bujía – herejía, etc.

– ígena, ígeno, -ígero, -ígera: alienígena – flamígero (flaming, blazing) – indígena – alígera – antígeno – oxígeno

4. The affixes:

– geo- or –geo, meaning “earth, land”: geología – geómetra – apogeo

– log- or –log- , meaning “study of, science”: logo – filología – lógica – biólogo – logopeda – analógico

– inge- or –inge, except injerto (graft) and injerir (to insert, not ingerir, meaning to ingest): ingenio – laringe – esfinge – ingenuo – meninge

5. Verbs ending in –igerar, -ger and –gir (except tejer and crujir and their derivatives): aligerar – rugido – proteger – emergencia – fingir – refrigerar

6. Some foreign words ending in g: airbag – camping – casting – doping – gag – piercing

See you next time!

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About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.


  1. Ricardito:

    What is a hiatus?



  2. Adir Ferreira:

    Ricardito, a hiatus is a gap or a short pause (time).

  3. Ricardito:

    Yes, Adir, I know that definition, but how does it apply to grammar?

    In your article, you said:

    “However, words that contain a hiatus are written with a j: bujía – herejía, etc.”



  4. Jose:

    No hiatus: bugia (wrong)
    Hiatus: bujía (correct)

    Text says words with hiatus are written with j instead of g. And if you realize they also are written with i tilde (í). If you pronounce the hiatus:


    With no hiatus it would be bu-gia.

    Do you know the difference now?

    PS: I’m from Spain.

  5. Fredericka Litchmore-Tinga:

    I noticed that for 4. The affixes- log- or –log- , meaning “study of, science”: logo – you have biólogo and logopeda. I thought that the ‘g’ sound was hard before an ‘o’

  6. david carmona:

    Ricardito, a hiatus occurs when two vowels that are next to each other are pronounced in different syllables. Not all of them are written with a tilde; that depends on the specific combination.

  7. david carmona:

    Fredericka, you are right, the sound is hard. However, the post deals with spelling, not phonology.