The accent

 

Rules for the use of the written accent in Spanish

Every word, with more than one syllables, will have a higher pitch of the voice on one of the syllables. This is the current stress, but sometimes a written mark /’/ is necessary to make the rules clearer.

Every word written correctly in Spanish can be pronounced correctly, even if you don’t know its  meaning. All you have to do is follow the rules.

Words fall into three categories according to the way they are pronounced: agudas, llanas, esdrújulas..

1. Words that are stressed on the last syllable are called agudas:

Director, popular, habitual, albañil, comedor

If an aguda ends in a vowel, n or s it carries a written accent mark:

interpretación, inglés, jabalí, camión, canción,

2. Words that are stressed on the next to the last syllable are called llanas.

Moneda, nombre, madre, concurso, balcones,

 

If a llana ends in a vowel, n or s it does not carry a written accent. If a llana ends in a

consonant other than n or s it carries a written accent mark.
fértil, acar, til, bil, huésped, piz, ángel, cil, dicil.

3. Words that are stressed on the third to the last syllable are called esdrújulas. All

esdrújula words carry a written accent.

Pecula, pérdida, blico, tefono, mateticas, íntimo, tico.

 

4. The monosyllabic words, as a rule, don’t have a written mark:

Sal, mar, mes, red, res, rey, sol

The diacritical accent

It is a special accent mark that is used to distinguish the different grammatical function of some words which are spelt the same.

Unaccented

Meaning / Function

Accented

Meaning / Function

mi

my (possessive adj.)

me (personal pronoun)

tu

your (possessive adj.)

you (personal pronoun)

el

the (definite article)

él

he (personal pronoun)

aun

even (conjunction)

aún

yet, still (adverb)

de

of (preposition)

give (I, you, he) subjunctive form of dar to give

se

Himself/herself

(reflexive pronoun)

I know (present simple)

si

If (conjunction)

Yes (interjection)

mas

but (conjunction old

English)

más

More (adverb)

te

you (personal pronoun)

tea (noun)

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