8 junio, 2024

Flat words: what they are, when they have an accent and +100 examples (easy)

Flat words, also called grave words, are those words that have the tonic syllable in the penultimate syllable, starting from the end of the word. There are some that are accentuated (that is, that have an accent) and others that are not. This is due to certain spelling rules that you have to know. Flat words are also called paroxytones, which means that they carry the accent on the penultimate syllable.

In our language, words are classified according to where the tonic syllable is located, which is the syllable that is pronounced more strongly than the others. Some examples would be «tree», «pencil», «frost», «beautiful» (with accent and without accent).

There are four categories: acute, flat, esdrújulas and sobresdrújulas. In the first (agudas), the tonic syllable falls on the last syllable; in the plains, in the penultimate; in esdrújulas, in the antepenultimate, and in sobresdrújulas, in the syllable before the antepenultimate, and it is always counted from the end.

When do flat words have an accent?

In Spanish, flat words are the most common and numerous, and most are in this group. Sometimes they have an accent and other times they don’t, and we’ll see in what circumstances they do. It is important to learn this spelling rule to write correctly and to know when the flat words are accented.

They have a tilde when they end in a consonant other than -no -s. In other words, No they have an accent when they end in -no -s, or in a vowel: «joven», «exam», «casa», «cochero», «ciencia», «pones», «caminas», «tesis», etc.

Remember that the tilde is the small line that is placed on the vowel to indicate that that syllable should be pronounced with more emphasis than the others. Examples of flat words that do carry an accent are “sugar”, “mobile”, “easy”, “corpse”, “joy”, etc.

Exceptions in the accentuation of plain words

There are two exceptions that make certain flat words obligatory: when they are words that come from English or Latin and that have been adopted or assimilated by Spanish, and words that end in hiatuses.

foreign words

Look at words such as biceps, triceps (from Latin), comics, jockey, yérsey (from English). The first three end in -s but are preceded by a consonant (-p and -c), and the last two end in -y. When you see a flat word with these characteristics, you will know that they must have an accent.


A hiatus occurs when two vowels meet, either weak or strong. The weak or closed vowels are I, U, and the strong or open A, E, O. The simple hiatus is the union of two open vowels, as in «poem», «museum», «geological», etc.

The accentual hiatus, which is the one we are interested in, occurs when there is a union of a stressed weak vowel and a strong unstressed vowel, and the weak one is always accentuated: “philosophy”, “majority”, “fall”, “búho” .

Keep in mind that when conjugated verbs often form hiatuses, whose tonic syllable is always in the weak or closed vowel: “smile”, “would go”, “would do”, “laugh”, “fingía”, “ruled”, “ it would sing”, “it would rain”, etc.

However, there are other cases in which, if the conjugations end in a diphthong, the words should not be stressed, such as «hicierais», «nadarais», «cantaseis». All of them are plain words.

Remember that the diphthong is formed when two different vowels (one open and one closed, or two closed) come together. Neither of them can carry the tilde and they form a single syllable.

Open vowel (A, E, O) + closed vowel (I, U): aura, euro.
Closed vowel + open vowel: lip, guard.
Closed vowel + closed vowel: escape, beware.

For example, «triumph», «cave», «careful», «euro»: note that the I and the U (in the first example), the U and the E (in the second), the U and the I (in the third), and E and U (in the fourth). These examples are also flat words.

Examples of plain words with and without accent

As you will see below, flat words make up a huge percentage of the Spanish lexicon, both those that are accented and those that are not.








-piggy bank













-In view of








































-Basketball court



-I would sing




















































-Holm oak























-Would filter



















-Lock pick












-There was






























































-I would look
















-Little girl









-Baggy eyes


























































-Spinning wheel



















































Deja una respuesta

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *