The Basic Rule

In previous lessons we have seen how to count the number of syllables in a word. We have also practiced telling which syllable of a word is stressed. With that knowledge, we can now discuss accent marks.

Remember that there is a rule in Spanish that tells what syllable of a word should ordinarily be stressed. Most words follow the rule, and so they don't need an accent mark. But some words don't follow the rule. On those words, the stressed syllable needs to be marked with an accent.

And, finally, here is the rule:

Again, most words follow this rule, and thus don't need accents. But some words don't. Those words need an accent mark on the vowel of their stressed syllable.

Consider the following words. Their stressed vowels are in blue. Can you explain why some of them have accent marks, while others do not?

If you think you're starting to understand accents, have a stab at the quiz.