There are words in Spanish which have different meanings when written with or without a written accent. Let's look at donde vs dónde.
Spanish dónde with an accent
Note that this does not mean there has to be a question or exclamation mark (see second example below).
Spanish donde without an accent
Note that without the clause introduced by donde /where the sentence would still be grammatically complete.
Note that sometimes donde can be followed by an infinitive. In this case part of the sentence is omitted but doesn't alter the meaning.
Necesito ir a un lugar donde relajarme.
Necesito ir a un lugar donde [yo pueda] relajarme.
I need to go somewhere where I can relax.
The function of the word dónde/donde indicates if it does or does not require a written accent. Even though the most natural translation for both is "where", it can help you to remember that if when you translate the phrase into English you can replace "where" with "in what location/to what location"; then you know it is dónde with the written accent. Look at these examples:
- Dónde = where = "in/to what location" (interrogative and exclamatory pronoun).
- Donde = where = "in which" (relative pronoun in subordinate clauses).
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