Accent marks in Spanish, beginner's rules

Not long ago @JoAnn asked me how to know when a word has an accent mark in Spanish. I think most of you have had this question before, and today I would like to share some rules with you. This topic is quite wide, and I don’t want to overwhelm you, so no worries it would be easy and short :hoverllama:.

  1. Some words are usually really short. They have just one syllable, and we call them “monosílabas” (one-syllable word or monosyllabic). These words do not have an accent. For example: flor :sunflower:, pan :bread:, sol :sun_with_face:, mar :ocean:.

  2. There is a short exception to rule #1 :upside_down_face:. The following list makes use of what we call “tilde diacrítica” (diacritical accent mark). We use it in order to differentiate them from words that are spelled the same but have a different meaning.

  • (to give- first person subjunctive present)

  • (yes)

  • él (he) :man_red_haired:

  • más (more)

  • (tea) :tea:

  • (me)

  • (to know- first person present indicative)

  • (informal you)

  1. All interrogative words used in a question or indirect question will have an accent mark:
  • ¿Quién? (Who?) - ¿Qué? (What? / Which?) - ¿Dónde? (Where?)

  • ¿Cuándo? (When?) - ¿Por qué? (Why?) - ¿Cómo? (How?)

  • ¿Cuál? (Which?) - ¿Cuánto? (How much/many?)

There are more rules, but I’ll leave those for another time :blush:. No worries, this topic is complicated even for us native speakers :sweat_smile:. Furthermore, @melycart wrote a small article about this topic, and you could also check what she shared.

In order to practice, why don’t you try to write some sentences with the words we just learned? :catbee:


Specially with the Real Academia changing the rules all the time :laughing: :laughing: .


Thank you so much for the detailed explanation, @27sp.sandra! :ok_woman:t5:

Yo pruebo usar las palabras con tildes.

  1. El hombre le gusta té. Su té favorito es el té de menta.
  2. Jenny: ¿Tú tienes una mascota, verdad?
    Paula: Sí, un gato.
    Jenny: ¿Cómo se llama?
  3. Pablo: ¿Dónde está el baño?
    Marina: Lo siento, no lo sé.

Awesome! Well done @JoAnn :raised_hands:. I have only one correction:

  1. Al hombre le gusta el té.
    A+él: al
    In this case the verb indicates that someone likes the tea. We use the preposition “a” to introduce that subject in the sentence, that is why we put “al” at the beginning. Others examples are:
  • A mí me gusta el helado :ice_cream:.

  • A ti te gustan los perros :dog:.

  • Al presidente le gustan los autos :oncoming_automobile:.


@27sp.sandra gracias por esta breve explicación !,

Estoy de acuerdo en que es difícil incluso para hispano hablantes. Lo tendré en cuenta en el futuro porque ya me lo han preguntado y aquí esta muy bien resumido.