National Punctuation Day – And the use of special characters in Spanish

On September 24th, where I’m from, we have a public holiday. Okay, it’s not actually a National Punctuation Day holiday! In Trinidad and Tobago, we celebrate our Republic Day on September 24th.

However, when looking at what else is celebrated on that date, I came across this interesting tidbit: In the United States, September 24th is National Punctuation Day… “a celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotation marks, and other proper uses of periods, semi-colons, and the ever mysterious ellipsis.”

I think it’s also a good day to remind Spanish learners about the importance of accents and special characters in Spanish!

Accents are important!

In fact, accents can completely change a word. A misplaced (or forgotten) accent can render a sentence unintelligible or can make it (unintentionally) humorous or even offensive! 

Let’s take a look at some words whose meaning changes quite a lot depending on whether or not you use an accent or tilde.

You can also see this previous post on Over The Andes, which shows more of these words and includes instructions on how to type the special characters.

Here are a few more common words whose meanings change with the use of an accent.

el

the

él

he

si

if

yes

ordenar

to order/ arrange

ordeñar

to milk (something)

una

one

uña

finger nail

te

to you

tea

mas

But/ else

más

more

Bottom line: Accents do matter!!! Use them!

Here are a few links to resources about inserting special characters:

​Enjoy National Punctuation Day!

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2 Comments

  1. pick1solution September 22, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    You are always giving us something to think about. I Love it.

    Reply
    1. K D September 23, 2021 at 8:39 am

      I’m glad 🙂 Have a lovely weekend!

      Reply

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