Since accent marks indicate which syllable is stressed, the first thing you need to know is what constitutes a syllable in Spanish. In this lesson we practice counting the number of syllables in Spanish words. Here are the basic rules:

  1. There are five vowels in Spanish, a, e, i, o, and u. Of these, a, e, and o are considered strong vowels. The other two vowels, i, and u, are considered weak vowels.
    • Note: As a memory aid, remember that You and I are weak.
  2. Each strong vowel in a word forms its own syllable. So a combination of two strong vowels forms two syllables.
  3. A combination of two vowels in which at least one is weak forms one syllable. This is called a diphthong.
Here are some examples: When you think you understand how to count syllables, test yourself by clicking on the Quiz button below.