Jun 06 2004

Natural vs. Written Accents

Published by at 12:00 am under The Sounds of Spanish

Natural Accents

If a word ends in a vowel, or the consonants “n” or “s,” the natural accent or stress of that word falls on the next-to-last syllable. For example:

pi-can-te, accent on can
mi-nu-to
, accent on nu
mu-chas, accent on mu
ha-blan, accent on ha

If a word ends in any other consonant other than “n” or “s,” the natural accent or stress of that word falls on the last syllable. For example:

a-zul, accent on zul
di-ez, accent on ez
sin-gu-lar, accent on lar

Written Accents

Accents are written in Spanish when the stress of the word does not follow the previous two rules. For example:

rápido, automático, dirección, histórico, café, etcétera

There are also a few words in Spanish that have written accent marks to differentiate them from words of like spelling, but different meaning. For example:

él (he) vs. el (the), (I know) vs. se (reflexive pronoun), (yes) vs. si (if), más (more) vs. mas (but), sólo (only) vs. solo (alone).

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