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I see both "aquel" and "aquél" used in similar context and was wondering if there is any difference in meaning of those two words.

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2 Answers 2

Until 2010, the official rule was to use accent (tilde diacrítica in Spanish) to differentiate the pronoun from the adjective, as @snumpy has already said.

The (IMHO) sad news is that since 2010 the rules have been changed by RAE, and now it is recommended to avoid the use of the accent in this case, even when there is an obvious case of ambiguity:

Eliminación de la tilde diacrítica en el adverbio solo y los pronombres demostrativos incluso en casos de posible ambigüedad


Some examples:

  1. Sólo / Solo:

    Estaré sólo dos meses (I'll stay only two months).
    Estaré solo dos meses (I'll be alone during two months).

  2. Éste / Este:

    Éste sólo gustó a los más exigentes (This one was only liked by the most demanding).
    Este solo gustó a los más exigentes (This solo [Music] was liked by the most. demanding)

    • In the first line, may be written with comma to avoid ambiguity: Éste, sólo gustó a los más exigentes.
  3. Aquéllos / Aquellos:

    ¿Por qué compraron aquéllos libros usados? (Why did they buy used books?)
    ¿Por qué compraron aquellos libros usados? (Why did they buy those used books?)

    • In the first line, the subject may be enclosed with commas due to the "hipérbaton": ¿Por qué compraron, aquéllos, libros usados?
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2  
A lot of people ignore the RAE, though, especially outside Spain. –  Kef Schecter Nov 15 '11 at 22:56
    
@KefSchecter: after these new rules, me too... –  Nicolás Nov 16 '11 at 1:56
    
Maybe you could include an example of a case where there is such obvious ambiguity to back up your point. –  hippietrail Nov 16 '11 at 13:19
1  
@hippietrail: good advice. I've just incorporated some examples. –  Nicolás Nov 17 '11 at 21:58
    
I preffer continue use that rules. I dont understand why the RAE eliminate its –  Aracem Nov 17 '11 at 23:47

Aquel is an adjective whereas Aquél is a pronoun.

Aquel edificio es grande. -That building is large.

Aquél es grande. -That one is large.

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thanks, so I understand that the same would apply to aquella, aquellos, aquellas vs aquélla, aquéllos, aquéllas? –  kristof Nov 15 '11 at 21:30
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@kristof yes, and este, éste, esta, ésta, esa, ésa etc... etc... –  snumpy Nov 15 '11 at 21:32
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from RAE: "En este último caso escr. con acento cuando existe riesgo de anfibología." So the accent is not compulsory unless the term can be ambiguous (and it usually is not ambiguous). So "Aquel" can also be a pronoun. buscon.rae.es/draeI/… –  Juanillo Feb 10 '12 at 12:36

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