Accents to Distinguish Words
We're almost finished. This lesson is very similar to the previous one, in which we saw that when certain words are used to introduce a question or exclamation, they have an accent mark over their stressed vowel even though their stress patterns follow the normal rules. The same thing happens with certain word pairs that are spelled the same but mean different things. Here is a list of a few such word pairs. You should consult a Spanish textbook for a more complete list.
|si (if)||sí (yes)|
|mas (but, however)||más (more)|
|el (the)||él (he)|
|se (a pronoun)||sé (I know)|
|te (a pronoun)||té (tea)|
|de (of, from)||dé (imperative of dar)|
|mi (my)||mí (me)|
|tu (your)||tú (you)|
- Note: The word sólo, meaning "only," was traditionally written with an accent to distinguish it from the word solo, meaning "alone." However, in 2010 the Real Academia decided that neither word should be written with an accent. It remains to be seen whether this new rule will be widely followed.
Now take the very last quiz.