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Accent on Spanish words

Accent on Spanish words

Spanish accent marks rules can be confusing at first, but Enforex will teach you how to put accents on Spanish words and when you should stress words.

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Are you still having trouble knowing when to accent words in Spanish? The grammatical rules vary depending on the type of word, but don't despair, in this article, Enforex gives you the keys you need to know about Spanish accent marks rules.

Accentuation is a fundamental part of Spanish spelling, since knowing when and how to stress words is essential for writing correctly in this language. Spanish words are accented according to the sílaba tónica (stressed syllable), that is, the syllable on which the greatest stress is placed when pronouncing a word.

Therefore, unlike in other languages, the accents in Spanish will help you to know how to pronounce a word, just by reading it. So, if you are learning Spanish in Spain or taking a Spanish course and you still don't know how and when to stress words, this is the article for you.

Spanish letters with accents

Before you start knowing how to accent words in Spanish, you should know which are the letters that can be accented. There are only five: á, é, í, ó, ú. As you can see, they are only the vowels, this means that in Spanish only five letters are accented, the vowels, and the rest of them are not.

Accent words in Spanish: stressed syllables

As mentioned before, in Spanish, words are stressed according to where the stressed syllable is. Therefore, it is necessary to know how to identify this syllable to stress words correctly. Depending on the position of the stressed syllable, words can be distinguished between agudas, graves, esdrújulas and sobresdrújulas.

The Spanish accent marks rules would then be as follows:

Aguda (oxytone): oxytone words are stressed when they end in vowel, ‘n’ or ‘s’, and the stressed syllable is on the last syllable. Examples: sofa (sofa), camion (truck), menu (menu), andén (platform), sartén (frying pan).

Grave (paroxytone): paroxytone words have an accent when they end in a consonant other than ‘n’ or ‘s’ and do not end in a vowel, and the tonic syllable is in the penultimate syllable. Examples: árbol (tree),fácil (easy), azúcar (sugar), líder (leader), césped (grass).

Esdrújulas (proparoxytone): proparoxytone always have a tilde (stress mark) and the tonic syllable is in the antepenultimate syllable. For example: música (music), tráfico (traffic), número (number), enfásis (emphasis), murciélago (bat) or cámara (camera).

Sobresdrújulas (proparoxytone): they also always have a tilde and the tonic syllable is before the antepenultimate syllable. For example: dígamelo, cómetelo, escribiéndoselo, diciéndoselo…

Spanish letters with accents

There is also the exception of words with two stressed syllables. Adverbs ending in -mente; these are the only words that have two stressed syllables. For example: artísticamente (artistically), cómodamente (comfortably), rápidamente (quickly), mágicamente (magically). Although not all adverbs ending in -mente are stressed: paralelamente (at the same time), solamente (only) or temporalmente (temporarily).

Stressing monosyllabic words

In general, monosyllabic words, those that have only one syllable, are not accented in Spanish. However, there are certain cases in which they do have a tilde. The rule is that they only have a tilde when it is necessary to distinguish between words that are spelled the same but have different meanings.

For example: tú (personal pronoun) and tu (possessive); él (personal pronoun) and el (article); or se (pronoun) and sé (verb saber). This accentuation is called diacritical tilde and has the function of differentiating two words that are spelled the same but have a different meaning.

Here are some sentences:

Accentuating questions

Other words that are accented in Spanish are questions. In addition to differentiating them with the question mark at the beginning and at the end, interrogative pronouns are accented to differentiate them from adverbial conjunctions. This way you can easily distinguish in writing when you are asking and when you are using the same word to answer.

Here are some examples:

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