In English, we sometimes enclose in parentheses the plural of a word to indicate that the possibility exists that a subject could also be plural. An example is below:

The location(s) must be announced by noon tomorrow.

Use of this is not advised for academic writing, but for certain situations or professions (e.g., legal), it is necessary. Does Spanish use this same convention and, if so, how does it handle words that drop the accent when such a parentheses is added? For example:




Or is this simply not a practice used in Spanish? If it is, please advise me on what the standard convention is for dealing with those words that drop the accent when pluralized. Also, in English you'll find many a discussion on whether or not to have the verb correspond with the singular or plural. After doing a bit of research on that topic, it appears that both are acceptable, but some prefer one over the other. How is it handled in Spanish (if the parenthetical plural even exists)? Does the Real Academia Española have anything to say about it? For the sake of simplicity and to avoid argument/debate, I chose to avoid it altogether in the example above by using a construct that worked for both -- must be announced -- but I am curious about what authoritative sources say about the subject as well as what is commonly practiced.

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    We tend to use slashes: localización/es. See Ortografía.
    – fedorqui
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 8:48
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    @fedorqui That link provides enough information to write a complete answer, in my opinion.
    – Gorpik
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 9:22
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    Just a hint, a better translation for localization is ubicación. Localización is also correct but is not so used. Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 13:12
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    @fedorqui Gracias for your post and link! I look forward to reading it. Thank you also to Gorpik for suggesting that it provides enough for a complete answer. Upon just a cursory skim of it, I concur.
    – Lisa Beck
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 15:20
  • @VladimirNu Actually, I am translating a series of documents, at least one of which has already been written using the word "localización." For the sake of consistency, I think I'll stick with that word. I just did some Google searching and it does appear that "ubicación" is three times more prevalent than "localización," and overwhelming more prevalent when pluralized (~36:1), but when I do a search combining the topic of this series, "localización" is, surprisingly, twice as prevalent. Thank you for attempting to help, though. I learned something new because of it.
    – Lisa Beck
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 15:51

2 Answers 2


Following the hint dropped by fedorqui, I'll translate what the paragraph of the Ortografía says:

[The slash] is used to express a disjunction syntactically, indicating the existence of two or more possible options from which an opposition or, more frequently, a relation of alternation or optionality is established. [...] The original word must be written with the accentuation that corresponds (with or without graphic accent), regardless of the accentuation of the option referred by the morpheme: examen/es (although it is exámenes).

So your answer is localización/es, as the original word (localización) is written with graphic accent. As for the concordance between words, the whole example should be written like this:

La/s localización/es será/n anunciada/s mañana.

the same way as we would write queridos/as niños/as to maintain the concordance even with the options. But I find that there are too many slashes there, so I would change it for:

La localización (o localizaciones) será anunciada mañana.

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    ¡Bien por la paciencia de copiar el texto de la imagen y traducirlo! Yo iba a hacerlo cuando encontrara el rato :)
    – fedorqui
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 9:32
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    @fedorqui no he podido resistirme. Lo que no he encontrado es la parte de la Gramática en la que se dice que se deban concordar las palabras en frases con alternativas, para enlazar también esa parte de la respuesta.
    – Charlie
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 9:37
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    Good answer! // Note: Tilde has a quite different meaning in English. I would write it in italics to signalize it is the Spanish meaning that you are using or, preferably, use the term graphic accent, accent mark, stress mark or acute accent. Unlike for example Portuguese, the only situation where you would use a tilde in Spanish is with the letter ñ.
    – Yay
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 13:02
  • @CarlosAlejo Gracias to you and fedorqui. It was a pleasant surprise to set this aside for a few hours and find that it had been answered and so well. However, I would probably still be wading through the Spanish had you not been so kind as to translate it. I feel as if you both deserve a checkmark, but since I can only assign one, I award it to the one with the English translation since I'm guessing that version of it will be most helpful to the majority of those visiting this site.
    – Lisa Beck
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 15:29
  • Again, a big thank you to both @fediroqui and CarlosAlejo for taking the time to answer. Not only did it answer my question, it also included additional information I hadn't thought to ask, but is just as helpful to know.
    – Lisa Beck
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 15:32

De acuerdo a la Real Academia Española, en el diccionario panhispánico de dudas, tenemos la especificación de uso de los paréntesis. En el item 2. Usos inciso c) indica que tanto el paréntesis como la barra son correctos:

Para introducir opciones en un texto. En estos casos se encierra entre paréntesis el elemento que constituye la alternativa, sea este una palabra completa, sea uno de sus segmentos: En el documento se indicará(n) el (los) día(s) en que haya tenido lugar la baja; Se necesita chico(a) para repartir pedidos. Como se ve en los ejemplos, los paréntesis que añaden segmentos van pegados a la palabra a la que se refieren. En este uso, el paréntesis puede alternar con la barra.(→ )

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    Veo difícil que la persona que preguntó pueda entender esto con facilidad considerando que su idioma materno es el inglés, digo esto considerando que la pregunta está hecha en inglés. Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 15:10
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    Bienvenido @Fernando al SE. Por favor considera traducir tu respuesta al inglés (sin borrar la respuesta en español) ya que la persona que pregunta no tiene suficiente conocimiento del español como para entender completamente tu respuesta.
    – DGaleano
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 17:58

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