I could substitute “which person” here. What clue should I be looking for to tell me I don’t need the accent?
I don't think you can substitute that "quien" with "which person", can you? I don't think it makes sense to say:
"Elige a un compañero para jugar contigo. Quien tú quieras.
(Choose a class mate to play with you. Which person you want.) (????)
You would need "who" or "whoever" for that.
It'd be different if it was an interrogative sentence:
"Elige a un compañero para jugar contigo. ¿A quién quieres?.
(Choose a class mate to play with you. Which person do you want?)
Here in an interrogative you do need quién with the accent.
I hope this clarified it.
In fact a sentence of "(Which person) you want" wouldn't actually work unless you made it into a question for example "(Which person) do you want to play with?" On the other hand "Whoever you want" does work in that actual sentence; thus "quien."
The main clue that I look for is whether there is any hint of a question, whether it is direct or indirect.There is no question in the example you are working on, so that would point you to "quien." OK the child will have to ask themselves "who do I want to play with" but this sentence is the parent / carer saying "play with whoever you want."
Indirect questions can be tricky (they were for me), but trawling through the examples made it clearer.
I hope that helps
Thank you both Inma and John, these are very helpful responses.
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