Do you want to make a difference in your exam? Then let me introduce you to: “los hiatos y diptongos”

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If you want to make a difference in your writing in your A level or any other Spanish exam, you should know how to accentuate words. Do you know the rules?

If the stressed syllable of the word is the last one, then it will have an accent if it finishes by the letters “n”, “s” or a vowel. For example: camión, José, patín… These words are called: palabras agudas.

If the stressed syllable is the penultimate, then it will be accented if the word finishes by any consonant except “n” or “s” and except if it finishes by a vowel, for example: lápiz, Cádiz, Pérez…These words are called: palabras llanas.

If the stressed syllable is the antepenultimate it is always accented, for example: cántico, cántabro, cámara…These words are called: palabras esdrújulas.

Also, there are other words called: palabras sobresdrújulas, their stressed syllable is the fourth from the last and they are always accented.

However, there are some exception to these rules, there is something called: diptongos and hiatos which are combinations of different vowels.

A “diptongo” is when two vowels are together in the same syllable. Those vowels must be: one open (a,e,o) and the other one closed (i,o) or both of them should be closed. For example: sabia, peine, ciudad… “Diptongos” follow the rules mentioned above, and if the stressed syllable of the word is the one that has the “diptongo”, then the accent will be always on the open vowel, for example: murciélago, cantáis… but if the “diptongo” is form by two closed vowels, the accent will be always on the last of them. For example: cuídate, casuística.

On the other hand, we have the “hiatos”. This happens when two vowels are next to each other but they are in different syllabus.

Here, if the hiato is formed by an open and a closed vowel, no matter in which order they are, the “hiato”  WILL ALWAYS BE ACCENTED ON THE CLOSED VOWEL. For example: naúfrago, caída, reúno…

But if the “hiato” is formed by two different open vowels, or by the same two vowels,  it will follow the rules mentioned above. For example: héroe, chiita, león..

Now, learn this rules and try to put some examples in you writing exam, for sure you will impress your examiner!

Raquel L. IB Spanish tutor, GCSE Spanish tutor, A Level Spanish tutor...

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