Accents for: día, más, bien, también.


Why do we need an accent in word día and más? The stress would anyway would stay there.

Also why we do not need an accent in word bien but we do in también.

updated MAR 17, 2014
posted by curio

4 Answers


The accent on más is no longer required unless ambiguity arises with the word mas (pero). The same with ésta, sólo, etc. Some of the diacritical accent marks have been dropped, but some remain (e.g. dé, sé, etc.)

The accent on dia still serves a purpose (it breaks the diphthong) resulting in a word with 2 syllables (dí-a) rather that one (dia). Also if the word was dia the accent would be on the "a" or the strong vowel in the diphthong. (diphthongs are treated as a single vowel, so in the word dia, the accent would not be on the "i" if you were considering it as di a and being grave- the accent naturally following on the i. I assume that is what you were thinking when you said the accent mark was not needed).

también doesn't fit into this category. The accent is need there to move the stress from the first syllable to the last syllable (to the diphthong). tam -bien ; not tam-bien (it's not a diacritical accent mark)

updated ABR 3, 2013
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
Thanks a lot. The only remaining question is why we do not need an accent for the word bien

Everything 0074b507 is correct. As far as why bien requires no accent, I think I have part of the answer. I believe that the 1994 RAE ruling supercedes the rules mentioned above when you are dealing with a monosyllabic word like bien. In 1994 the Royal Academy of Spanish ruled accents on monosyllabic words that did not serve the function of distinguishing meaning were no longer required (el vs. él for instance). There still remains the question of why did bien not have an accent before 1994 and I would guess it has to do with adverb vs. adjective. I would love someone to clarify this for me.

updated ABR 3, 2013
posted by Olsenj10

When a weak and a strong vowel appear together in a word (the letters u and i are weak vowels; all others are strong) , it creates a diphthong. In the word bien, the diphthong is created by the letters "i"and "e". The letter "i" is a weak vowel and the letter "e" is a strong vowel.

The rule goes that weak and strong must get along (an example of this appears in the word "aire"). Notice that the letters a and i blend together to form one sound. However, in bien both letters are pronounced. In this case the strong vowel will receive the stress. That is the letter "e".

Since this would make the word be pronounced as bee-YEN (and not BEE-yen) an accent is not required. The stress naturally falls where it should (which is the letter "e"). For arguments sake, if you wanted the word to be pronounced BEE-yen you would need an accent mark on the letter "i". That accent mark would override the power of the strong vowel.

Okay, in the word también there are two syllables. They are "tam"and "bien"(remember that ie creates a diphthong and thus creates one syllable). Spanish accent rules state that if a word has two or more syllables and ends in a vowel, the letter n or the letter s, the stress is on the second to the last syllable.

Therefore, if there was no accent, the word would be pronounced "TAM-bee-yen"(instead of the way that it sounds tam-bee-YEN) since "Tam" is the second to the last syllable. Now, since we pronounce the word with the stress on the last syllable it goes against the Spanish accent rules.

Whenever a word goes against those rules, an accent is required. So, we will need an accent to make the stress fall onto the last syllable. Thus causing the word to be pronounced "tam-bee-YEN".

updated MAR 17, 2014
posted by frinkster

-----Regarding "bien", perhaps all the discussion around "también" has thrown you off and obfuscated a simple understanding? "Bien" simply follows the normal rules of spanish with regards to having no accent mark. Maybe we should ask, why would 'bien' ever have needed an accent mark? What rule that would require an accent mark applies here?

-----Sorry I'm not an expert on grammatical terms, so I hope you understand what I am about to say. The "ie" combo in "bien" produces a single syllable (it is a dipthong), and the word is pronounced as a single syllable. So, without some other rule to come into play, I would say there is no reason to have an accent mark. Am I missing a rule that would make someone think otherwise?

updated ABR 24, 2013
posted by mswitzer74