​how to know where to put the accent in spanish

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I know the rules of stress, just where should I put the accent is there a rule to know where to put it or do you first listen to it and thats how you know?Like ingles the e has an accent and the in is supposed to be stressed but its the gles that is why and how do you know?

Oct 3rd, 2015

Thank you for the opportunity to help you with your question!

this may help you with the ascent rules:

Spanish accents

First let’s cover our basics. Spanish accents (tildes) can only be written over the five vowels (a, e, i, o, u), and the accent is written from lower left to upper right: á, é, í, ó, ú.

Spanish stress rules

There are two basic rules in Spanish that tell us where to put the stress of a word. Stress is important, as it can sometimes be the only way to distinguish two words. It’s the difference between “insult” (IN-sult), as in “I couldn’t think of a good insult,” and “insult” (in-SULT), as in “She’s going to insult me now, I just know it.”

(If you’re new to the idea of stressing syllables, try this listening/speaking exercise to practice hearing the stress in various Spanish words.)

It’s only when these two rules are broken that we need to add an accent for emphasis. So let’s get on with the rules, shall we?

1. Words ending in a vowel, n, or s.

For words that end in a vowel, the letter “n,” or the letter “s,” the stress is on the next to last syllable.


     todo (to-do) all/every

     inteligente (in-te-li-gen-te) smart

     el examen (e-xa-men) exam

     joven (jo-ven) young

     lunes (lu-nes) Monday

     los calcetines (cal-ce-ti-nes) socks

2. Words ending in a consonant (not n, s)

For words that end in all other consonants (not “n” or “s”), the stress falls on the last syllable.


     comer (co-mer) to eat

     la ciudad (ciu-dad)  the city

     el profesor (pro-fe-sor)  the professor/teacher

     el animal (a-ni-mal)  the animal

     Madrid (Ma-drid)  Madrid

And that’s it! Think you can remember those two rules?

(For those interested in Spanish syllable breaks, but not interested enough to learn all of the rules behind the splits just yet, you can use this handy tool to break any Spanish word into its correct syllables.)

When to add Spanish accent marks

We add accent marks to Spanish words when the stress breaks either of those two rules.

Let’s look at one example in detail first, the word from my vocabulary test: los exámenes. The word ends in an “s”, so according to the first rule, the stress should fall on the next to last syllable: ex-am-en-es. But it doesn’t.

Rather, the word keeps the same stress as its singular form, on what is now the third to last syllable, so we add an accent mark: exámenes (e-xa-me-nes). That’s it!

Examples of words that break rule #1

Here are some examples of Spanish words with accent marks that break rule #1. You’ll notice none of the stresses fall on the second to last syllable, as they normally would.

     la canción (can-cion) song

     también (tam-bien) also

     los crímenes (cri-me-nes) crimes

     jamás (ja-mas) never

     inglés (in-gles) English

     rápido (ra-pi-do) fast

     está (es-ta) is, third person singular of the verb estar – to be

Examples of words that break rule #2

And here are examples of words that break the second rule. These are words that end in a consonant (not “n” or “s”), but whose accent does not fall on the final syllable.

     el árbol (ar-bol)  tree

     la cárcel (car-cel)  jail/prison

     el césped (ces-ped)  grass

     débil (de-bil)  weak

Spanish homonyms: Same pronunciation, different meaning

Accent marks are also used in Spanish to differentiate between words that are pronounced (and therefore spelled) the same but that have different meanings: homonyms.

Here are some examples of common Spanish homonyms:

     de (preposition: of, from)
      (third-person singular subjunctive form of dar – to give)

     el (masculine article: the)
     él (he)

     mas (but)
     más (more)

     se (reflexive and indirect object pronoun)
      (I know)

     si (if)

     te (object: you)
     : (tea)

     tu (your)
      (subject: you)

References: http://www.fluentu.com/spanish/blog/spanish-accent-marks/

Please let me know if you need any clarification for the doubts. I'm always happy to answer your questions. Looking forward to help you again. thank you. :)
Sep 21st, 2015

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