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Published on: Grammar Bites

‘Parientes’ does not mean ‘parents’

Let’s take a look at the frequently-confused pairing of ‘parientes’ and ‘parents’!

Although both terms describe a type of family relationship, there’s a big difference:

In Spanish, we use the word ‘parientes’ to talk about people in the same family; in other words, people who are related to each other wheter by blood or marriage.

The singular form is ‘pariente’ and the correct English equivalents are ‘relatives’, ‘relation’, ‘kin’.

  • Todos nuestros parientes vendrán a la boda. ¡Será una fiesta muy grande! All our relatives will come to the wedding. It’s going to be a huge party!
  • Pasamos la Navidad con los parientes de mi esposa y Año Nuevo con los míos. We spent Christmas with my wife’s relatives and New Year’s with mine.    

In English, we use the plural term ‘parents’ to refer collectivelly to mothers and fathers. The correct equivalents in Spanish are ‘padres’ or ‘progenitores’ (more technical):

  • My parents will come visit me this summer. Mis padres vendrán a visitarme este verano.
  • All parents must sign the permission slip for the museum tour. Todos los padres deben firmar la autorización para asistir al tour del museo.