Spanish 101

Word stress can affect the meaning of the word and generally follows these rules:

If a word is marked with an accent, then that syllable receives the stress.

Additionally, if the accent marks a dipthong, a syllable break occurs between the two vowels of the dipthong.

If a word is NOT marked with an accent, then:

1. If the word ends in a consonant other than N or S, the stress occurs on the last syllable.

2. If the word ends in a vowel, N or S, the stress occurs on the next to last syllable.

círculo (SEER-koo-loh)
circulo (seer-KOO-loh)
I circulate
circuló (seer-koo-LOH)
(s)he/it circulated
estás (ehss-TAHSS)
you are
estas (EHSS-tahss)
origen (oh-REE-hehn)
orígenes (oh-REE-hehn-ehss)
ciudad (syew-DAHD)
ciudades (syew-DAH-dehss)
An accent can also be used to differentiate between words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings:

si = if
sí = yes
tu = your
tú = you
mi = my
mí = me
el = the
él = he

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