Why Spanish needs accent marks
Accent marks in Spanish do a great job of clarifying the language. The accent marks do that by showing where a particular word is foregrounded. Sometimes, the accent mark shows the difference among similarly spelled words. Standard Spanish word stress without an accent mark is too simple and falls into one of two types, such as the following:
#1 - If a Spanish word ends in the letter "n," "s" or any of the five vowels (á, é, í, ó, ú), you should emphasize the 2nd to the last syllable of the word. For instance, "Zapatos" (English: shoes) is an excellent example of that rule.
#2 - When a word does not end in the letter "n," "s" or any of the five vowels (á, é, í, ó, ú), you should emphasize the last syllable of the word. For example, "leer" (English: to read).
What are the Spanish accent marks?
There are some accent marks in the Spanish language, namely the vowels: á, é, í, ó, ú, that may seem relatively insignificant, but in reality, these Spanish accent marks signify an essential way to show how words are pronounced. Accent marks mainly to point out emphasis. So, each Spanish word contains an accent and a syllable that is stressed. However, these words do not always have to be marked with an accent mark. Here are some rules on why and where to place accent marks that may seem difficult for non-native Spanish speakers to understand. See the following explanations to get aware of this rule:
- If the Spanish word ends with "s" or "n" or any of the five vowels, a, e, I, o, u, then the accent is usually placed on the 2nd to the last syllable of that word.
E.g., me-sa, pa-dre.
- The Spanish words that do not end in "s," "n," or "a" vowel, and do not include an accent mark, then the stress is accented on the last syllable of the word, and it does not need to be marked either.
E.g: co-mer, or-de-na-dor, pa-pel.
- If the Spanish word's stress is placed anywhere except the rules explained in the above parts, the accent mark is written to let readers see the syllable on which to pronounce the word's stress.
E.g., ár-bol, di-fí-cil. Here both words end in the letter "I" and would usually be in the 2nd category, along with the stress on the last syllable. However, since these examples are exceptions, there is still a need to write an accent mark to show precisely where the emphasis is placed in a word.
- Spanish words are stressed on the 2nd to the last syllable, or the one before is common with compound words.
E.g: dí-me-lo (an imperative + pronouns) du-chán-do se- (gerund + reflexive pronoun), fan-tás-ti-co.
How to type Spanish accent marks
If you want to type the Spanish accent marks, you can directly copy from here: á é í ó ú ü ñ, and paste it. There are some other options for placing accents in Spanish writing if you are using a computer keyboard. See below:
- Using cryptic codes:
You can always type spanish accent marks with the cryptic codes. Hold down the Alt key on the keyboard and type a specific four digit number; then release it. You can use the following Alt codes to specify the spanish letters you would like to input:
á - Alt + 0225; Á - Alt + 0193
é - Alt + 0233; É - Alt + 0201
í - Alt + 0237; Í - Alt + 0205
ó - Alt + 0243; Ó - Alt + 0211
ú - Alt + 0250; Ú - Alt + 0218
ñ - Alt + 0241; Ñ - Alt + 0209
ü - Alt + 0252; Ü - Alt + 0220
- Instructions for Mac users:
To get Spanish accent marks on the Mac, you should hold down the "Option key" and type the letter "e"; then you should release those keys and type the letter for which you want the accent to appear on:
- To type á press Opt + e, then “a”;
- To type é, press Opt + e, then "e";
- To type í press Opt + e, then “i”;
- To type ó press Opt + e, then “o”;
- To type ú, press Opt + e, then "u."