is created by David Witten, a mathematics and computer science student at Vanderbilt University. For more information, see the "About" page.



There are four categories of accents:


This is when the emphasis is on the last syllable. 

Include an Accent

Ending in n/s/vowel

Don't Include an Accent

Everything else


Papel, español, francés, común, ciudad


This is when the emphasis is on the second to last syllable. Here the rule is switched from aguda.

Include an Accent

Everything else

Don't Include an Accent

Ending in n/s/vowel


  • Como
  • lunes
  • examen
  • carácter
  • lápiz


This means 3rd to last/4th to last emphasis. You always add an accent in this case.

Examen -> Exámenes

Special Rules

Verb -> Adverb

When you convert a verb into an adverb, the accents remain.

Lento -> Lentamente
Rápido -> Rápidamente


When one of these words are in a question, there is an accent. Additionally, when a sentence is a response to a question, you also include the accent. Here are a few examples:

No sabía qué hacer. In this example, qué maintains the use that it would have in a question: what? I didn't know what to do. Que without an accent means "that", "which",or "who".

No sé cómo llegó. In this example, cómo maintains the question definition. Como without an accent would mean "like", such as "Trabaja como yo."

No sé cuántos dólares cuesta el coche. In this example, cuántos is used to mean "how many".

Hopefully, you understand the pattern. Removing the accent changes the meaning of the word slightly. Keeping the accent keeps the question-like meaning.


Indefinite Articles