Spanish Word Stress
If a Spanish word has a written accent, or tilde, the word stress falls on whatever syllable has the tilde.
Knowing where to put the stress on a word in Spanish is the difference between pronouncing a word like computadorawith great Spanish pronunciation (kohm-poo-tah-DOH-rah), instead of Englishy pronunciation (kohm-POO-tah-doh-rah).
There are four main categories of words you'll come across when talking about Spanish word stress: palabras agudas, palabras llanas(also called palabras graves), palabras esdrújulas, and palabras sobresdrújulas. Let's take a closer look at each one.
Las palabras agudas are words that are stressed on the last syllable.
If a word ends in a consonant other than s or n and the word does not have a tilde anywhere, the word is a palabra aguda.
Las palabras agudas have a tilde on the final syllable to mark word stress if the last letter in the word is a vowel or the consonants s or n.
Palabras Graves (Llanas)
Las palabras graves, also called palabras llanas, are words that are stressed on the penultimate (second-to-last) syllable.
If a word ends in a vowel, s, or n and does not have a tilde anywhere, the word is a palabra grave.
Las palabras graves have a written accent on the second-to-last syllable to mark word stress in words that end in any consonant other than s or n and in groups of consonants like ps and cs.
Las palabras esdrújulas are words that are stressed on the antepenultimate (third-to-last) syllable.
Las palabras sobresdrújulas are words that are stressed on the fourth-to-last, fifth-to-last, or sixth-to-last syllable.
These words always have a written accent on the stressed syllable.
For the most part, only words that are made up of a verb form and two or more pronoun forms are palabras sobresdrújulas.
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