Palabras sobresdrújulas

Words that have an accent on any syllable before the antepenultimate syllable

Palabras sobresdrújulas are those that have the stress on any syllable before the antepenultimate syllable (i.e. fourth or fifth syllable from last) for example:

  • prepáramelo (pre--ra-me-lo) (prepare it for me)
  • propóngaselo  (pro-pón-ga-se-lo) (suggest it to him)
  • véndemelas (vén-de-me-las) (sell them to me)
  • comprándotelos (com-prán-do-te-los)  (buying them for you)

Palabras sobresdrújulas are compound words generally formed by an imperative or a gerund with pronouns attached to them. They all have a written accent

Adverbs ending in -mente

Have a look at these other cases of sobresdrújulas which are adverbs ending in -mente:

  • pidamente (quickly)
  • tranquilamente (calmly)
  • evidentemente (evidently)
  • democráticamente (democratically)

The ones that have a "written accent" are those that derive from an adjective which already has a written accent, like rápida or democrática. If the adjective it derives from has no written accent, then the adverb formed by adding -mente does not have a written accent either.


In pronunciation, we often talk about "acento" and "tilde". We refer to the "acento" to say which syllable receives the highest intensity when pronouncing the word. However, we talk about "tilde" when we refer to the "written or typed accent" on the highest intensity syllable of the word.

For example:

camiseta, mesa, árbol, túnel, beso

All these words are accentuated on their penultimate syllable, but only árbol and túnel have a "tilde" [´]

Let me take a look at that...