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Knowing how to separate a word into syllables is important for knowing how the letters combine together for correct pronunciation as well as when a word may need an orthographic accent or not.
General Syllabification Rules
As often as possible, create each syllable with a consonant followed by a vowel.
Only one strong vowel (a, e, o, í, ú) per syllable. These can be combined with a weak vowel (i, u) to create a diphthong. Two weak vowels always form a diphthong. Two strong vowels are always separated.
A consonant between two vowels belongs to the syllable with the second vowel. The goal is to end each syllable with a vowel.
Two consecutive consonants will generally belong to separate syllables.
The letter x is treated as two consecutive consonants, ks
- éxito - ek’-si-to
Certain consonant groups are not divided: bl, br, ch, cl, cr, dr, fl, fr, gl, gr, ll, pl, pr, qu, rr, tr. The general rule is that if two consonants can start a word, then they remain in the same syllable if they fall in the middle of a word.
Consonant Exceptions: words with prefixes. The prefix will be its own syllable.
Consonant Exceptions: the rr is split if it is clear from its etymology
When three consonants appear together, the first one will generally belong to a separate syllable. (Notice that the consonants in the second syllable are consonant units mentioned above.)
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