Rules for Stressing Syllables
Many Spanish words are formed by placing stress on a syllable. Stressing a syllable means pronouncing that syllable louder than the other syllables in the word. Changing the stress of a syllable can change the entire meaning of a word. For example, "papá", with the stress added to the second sylable (as indicated by the accent), means "father". On the other hand, "papa", with stress on the first syllable, means "potato". Below we'll review the rules for stress – that is, knowing how to determine which syllable to pronounce the loudest.
Rule 1 - When a word ends in a vowel, "n" or "s", the next to last syllable is stressed.
Rule 2 - When a word ends in a consonant (with the exception of "n" or "s"), the stress is placed on the last syllable.
Rule 3 - A written accent is used to indicate that a syllable is stressed when rules 1 and 2 above are not followed.
you are crazy
I will buy
you will see
Rule 4 - Sometimes words are spelled and pronounced the same, but have different meanings. In these cases, an accent is used to differentiate between the two meanings, as shown below.
Yes, I will go with you if you buy me a ticket.
Sí, iré contigo si me compras un boleto.
He likes the car a lot.
Él le gusta el coche mucho.
My house was designed especially for me.
Mi casa fue diseñada especialmente para mí.
Do you want to know where your cell phone is?
¿Tú quieres saber donde está tu celular?
I want more pizza, but I have a stomach ache.
Quiero más pizza, mas tengo dolor de estómago.
Even after eating everything in sight, I was still hungry.
Aun después de comer todo a la vista, aún tenía hambre.
What is her name? She is as pretty as you.
¿Cómo se llama ella? Es tan bonita como tú.