There are words in Spanish which change their meaning depending on if they do or do not have a written accent.
Let's look at "mi" vs "mí" in Spanish.
Mi in Spanish (no written accent)
Mi is a possessive adjective meaning "my".
- It has no written accent.
Mi abuelo no tiene dientes.My grandad has no teeth.
Esta es mi prima Susana.This is my cousin Susana.
Voy a pasear a mi perro.I'm taking my dog for a walk.
Bear in mind that if the possessive for my is plural, e.g. my parents, then it changes to mis (mis padres).
Mí in Spanish (written accent)
Mí is a pronoun meaning "me".
- It's always preceded by a preposition.
- It has a written accent.
A mí me gusta mucho el pescado a la plancha.I really like grilled fish. (Lit: grilled fish is pleasing to me)
¿Tú crees en mí?Do you believe in me?
Hay un gato negro que camina hacia mí.There is a black cat that is walking towards me.
We use the accent on the pronoun to differenciate it from the possessive adjective.
See also Difference between tú and tu (you and your) (singular informal)
Want to make sure your Spanish sounds confident?
We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your
gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »