Throughout my first semester of tutoring for Spanish, I have noticed that many people have trouble with the same topics. Recently I started a series on my YouTube channel for those who are learning Spanish. Each episode will answer a frequently asked question that I get based on those that I tutor. The first episode addressed where to put accent marks in a word. So why am I writing this post? For those that prefer to have something written, I wanted to give my readers and subscribers the option to learn from my explanation. Here, I can also elaborate on things that I missed in the video.
Where do accent marks go?
There are four rules. First, you listen to the word being spoken and determine which part gets stressed.
If it’s the last syllable, and the word ends in a vowel, -n, or -s, then there is an accent. Ex. francés, catalán, canté
If it’s the second to last syllable, and the word ends in a vowel, -n, or -s, then there is NO accent. Ex. cante, hablas, perro, dicen
If it’s the third to last syllable, then there is an accent. Ex. esdrújula (the official name of these kinds of words where the third to last syllable gets an accent), dígame, cuéntame
If it’s the fourth to last syllable, then there is an accent. Ex. ábremelo, infórmaselo, rápidamente
All of the rules have a specific name for those types of words. I avoided mentioning them because many people get confused by those names when still trying to get down the rules. Instead, get the accent rules down first and then learn what each word is called. I hope this post helped!
Here is the video for those of you that prefer a visual: