Lesson 297: Tilde Spanish – Rule Nbr. 2 of Spanish accents


Tilde Spanish – Spanish accents: Rule Nbr. 2


We have 4 Spanish accent rules in total:

1) “tildes” for words that are “agudas“, “graves o llanas” and “esdrújulas” (Lesson 294)

2) “tildes” for “hiatos

3) “tildes” for question words (Lesson 298)

4) Tildes to differentiate between monosyllables that are spelled the same, but have different meaning.

Technically speaking, in Spanish when we say “acento” we don’t necessarily mean the “tilde”, rather the syllable of a word that is accentuated. To refer to that short line that we sometimes place on a vowel, we say “tilde” (even-though many native Spanish speakers incorrectly call it “acento”).

Our 2nd Rule of Spanish tildes says that there is a tilde whenever the stress or “acento” is on the weak vowel in an hiatus.

I assume you already understand all about Spanish diphthongs and hiatus. If not, please refer to the following previous lessons, which are fundamental in order to understand this one fully:


Examples of Spanish hiatus (words that carry “tilde” are in bold):

  • aeropuerto (a-e-ro-puer-to) – airport
  • había (ha-bí-a) – there was
  • vía (ví-a) – route – way
  • campeonato (cam-pe-o-na-to) – championship
  • raíz (ra-íz) – root
  • heladería (he-la-de-rí-a) – ice-cream parlor
  • tío (tí-o) – uncle
  • tía (tí-a) – aunt
  • continúo (con-ti-nú-o) – I continue
  • continúa (con-ti-nú-a) – he/she/it continues

Watch the last 2 words (continúo, continúa). This is an example of how important Spanish “tildes” are. If we omit the “tilde” in any of these two words, then we would have “continuo” and “continua”, which instead means “continuous” (for masculine and feminine respectively). Of course, the absence of the Spanish tilde also determines a different pronunciation:

  • continúo / continúa: the stress in the intonation is on the vowel has the tilde
  • continuo / continua: the stress in the intonation is on the letter “i” (to understand why, you have to refer to the lessons mentioned above)


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