Written Accents in Spanish

Written accent marks (tildes) are used to let a person know where to place intonation when speaking Spanish. Once you know the rules for stressing syllables, there are only two more rules you need to learn.

Basic Rules of Intonation

1. If the stress falls on the last syllable (aguda) and the word ends in a vowel, n, or s, it requires a written accent.

song
canción
also
también
Panama
Pana
courteous
cortés


2. If the stress is placed on the penultimate syllable (grave) and the word ends in a consonant other than n or s, it requires a written accent.

sugar
acar
prison
cárcel
weak
bil
angel
ángel

Additional Rules of Intonation

To learn additional rules of intonation, written accents, and exceptions to the rules read rules for stressing syllables.

Interroative/Question Words

In Spanish, all interrogative (question) words require a written accent. The accent communicates to the reader that a question is being asked. The following is a list of all the interrogative words in Spanish.

English
Spanish
What!
¿Cómo?
How?
¿Cómo?
Which?
¿Cuál?
Which ones?
¿Cuáles?
When?
¿Cuándo?
How much?
¿Cuánto?
(o ¿Cuánta?)
How many?
¿Cuántos?
(o ¿Cuántas?)
Where?
¿Dónde?
What?
¿Qué?
Who?
¿Quién?
Whom?
¿Quién?
Why?
¿Por qué?