Difference between cuándo and cuando (with and without an accent)

There are words in Spanish which have different meanings when written with or without a written accent. Let's look at cuando vs cuándo.

Cuándo with an accent

Cuándo is used in both direct and indirect exclamatory sentences and interrogative sentences. It is generally translated as when.

For example:

¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños?
When is your birthday?

¡Cuándo acabará todo!
When will all this be over!

Dime cuándo vas a viajar a Italia.
Tell me when you are travelling to Italy.

 

Cuando without an accent

Cuando is a relative adverb. It is translated as when when it is used to introduce a subordinate clause.

For example:

Me lo propuso cuando fuimos al centro de la ciudad.
He proposed it when we went to the town centre.

El día 7 es cuando se celebra el aniversario de Sandra.
The 7th is when Sandra's anniversary is celebrated.

The function of the word cuándo/cuando indicates if it does or does not require a written accent. If it helps you to remember, even though the most natural translation for both is "when", translate the phrase into English and see if you can replace "when" with "at what moment in time"; if so then you know it is cuándo with the written accent. Look at these examples:

¡Cuándo acabará todo!
At what moment in time will all this be over!

El día 7 es cuando se celebra el aniversario de Sandra.
The 7th is at what moment in time Sandra's anniversary is celebrated.

 

Remember:

  • Cuándowhen = "at what moment in time" (interrogative and exclamative adverb)
  • Cuandowhen (relative adverb)

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Me lo propuso cuando fuimos al centro de la ciudad.
He proposed it when we went to the town centre.


Dime cuándo vas a viajar a Italia.
Tell me when you are travelling to Italy.


El día 7 es cuando se celebra el aniversario de Sandra.
The 7th is at what moment in time Sandra's anniversary is celebrated.


El día 7 es cuando se celebra el aniversario de Sandra.
The 7th is when Sandra's anniversary is celebrated.


¡Cuándo acabará todo!
When will all this be over!


¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños?
When is your birthday?


¡Cuándo acabará todo!
At what moment in time will all this be over!


Q&A

papi

Kwiziq community member

24 April 2019

2 replies

the use of cuándo/cuando in these two statements

1Llámame _cuando_______ tengas un momento libre.Call me when you have a free moment.Dime cuándo vas a viajar a Italia.Tell me when you are travelling to Italy.Can you help me to understand the difference between the use of cuándo/cuando in these two statements?  Thank you!

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

24 April 2019

24/04/19

Hola Papi

cuándo with an accent can be translated as "at what moment in time" while cuando without an accent cannot. 

1. Llámame cuando tengas un momento libre. (Call me at what moment in time you have some time ??????)

2. Dime cuándo vas a viajar a Italia. (Tell me at what moment in time you are travelling to Italy) OK

Saludos

Inma

papi

Kwiziq community member

25 April 2019

25/04/19

Yeah, my peanut brain still sees no difference.  #1 sounds awkward with "at what moment in time" substituting  cuando, but still works for me. Kind of like, ... when you are available to have some time...

Would it help to think of cuándo as "at what moment in time", hmm, as almost a question instead of a statement? - "at what moment in time?".  

Bonnie

Kwiziq community member

12 June 2018

2 replies

In my dictionary (Webster's new Spanish...) it says that 'gran'

Alan

Kwiziq community member

13 June 2018

13/06/18

Not sure what your question is!??

Bonnie

Kwiziq community member

13 June 2018

13/06/18

Sorry! It was an accident that published itself in the wrong place as I was trying to delete it!
Let me take a look at that...