5.2 Accent as no diacritical mark

If the accent is an indicator for how a word should be pronounced it is a so-called diacritical mark. In Spanish the accent can also be a sign of grammatical function that is not at all related to the pronunciation of the word. Then the accent is a no diacritical mark.

For example it can be helpful to get a hint whether it is a person he (él) or an article (el). Interrogative pronouns always have an accent (¿Cómo? ¿Cuándo? ¿Qué?).

  Some examples
él = Se lo doy a él.
el = Te doy el libro.
está = Está en London.
esta = Esta casa es roja.
cuándo = ¿Cuándo vienes?
cuando = Cuando viene le pregunto.
I give it to him.
I give the book to you.
He is in London.
This house is red.
When will you come?
When he comes I ask him.

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