Spanish Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Spanish language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've seen the conjunction o both with and without an accent mark. What are the rules for when the accent ought to be used?

share|improve this question
up vote 13 down vote accepted

After the last edition of the "Gramática Española" "o" never has an accent mark. Until now the accent was used when "o" was between numbers (so it can't be confused with a 0).

From RAE, nueva gramática

Supresión de la tilde diacrítica en la conjunción disyuntiva o escrita entre cifras

Hasta ahora se venía recomendando escribir con tilde la conjunción disyuntiva o cuando aparecía entre dos cifras, a fin de evitar que pudiera confundirse con el cero. Este uso de la tilde diacrítica no está justificado desde el punto de vista prosódico, puesto que la conjunción o es átona (se pronuncia sin acento) y tampoco se justifica desde el punto de vista gráfico, ya que tanto en la escritura mecánica como en la manual los espacios en blanco a ambos lados de la conjunción y su diferente forma y menor altura que el cero evitan suficientemente que ambos signos puedan confundirse (1 o 2, frente a 102). Por lo tanto, a partir de este momento, la conjunción o se escribirá siempre sin tilde, como corresponde a su condición de palabra monosílaba átona, con independencia de que aparezca entre palabras, cifras o signos: ¿Quieres té o café?; Terminaré dentro de 3 o 4 días; Escriba los signos + o – en la casilla correspondiente.

share|improve this answer
I've seen the ó in use in non-numeric contexts as well. For example, this evening a friend wrote two phrases, separated by ó: "Puedes decir Me puedes entender ó Puedes entenderme." Is this (or has this always been) an incorrect usage of the accented ó? – Flimzy Dec 9 '11 at 8:27
It is and, as far as I know, it's always been incorrect to accentuate "o" if not between numbers. As you can see in the article it says "cuando aparecía entre dos cifras" and not other cases. – Laura Dec 9 '11 at 8:31
+1 I didn't know about the distinction "number 0" VS "letter o"... So if now we don't distinguish them anymore, how do you know if it's a O or a zero? Apart from the shape and the diagonal line inside the number 0... – Alenanno Dec 9 '11 at 9:50
@Alenanno I don't know, context? I always thought it was a really usefull norm specially in handwriting and I think I'll have a hard time not putting the accent when between numbers. – Laura Dec 9 '11 at 10:02
@Laura I see :) – Alenanno Dec 9 '11 at 10:06

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.