-uar verbs in El Presente (actuar, continuar)

In Spanish, verbs that end in -uar take a written accent on the -u in most El Presente conjugations. Take a look at these two common verbs ending in -uar:

actuar (to act / perform) and continuar (to continue)

  ACTUAR CONTINUAR

yo

actúo continúo
actúas continúas
él/ella/usted actúa continúa
nosotros  actuamos continuamos
vosotros actuáis continuáis
ellos/ustedes actúan continúan

Here are some examples:

Alex actúa en el Teatro Central. Es el personaje principal.Alex performs at Teatro Central. He is the main character.

Los guitarristas actúan cada sábado en el bar de Miguel.The guitarists perform each Saturday at Miguel's bar.

¿A qué hora actuáis esta noche?What time are you performing tonight? [lit: do you guys perform]

En unos minutos, después del intermedio, continúa la obra.In a few minutes, after the interval, the play will continue. [lit: continues]

Los trabajadores continúan con la huelga.The workers continue with the strike.

Creo que estamos perdidos. ¿Continuamos o paramos a descansar?I think we are lost. Shall we continue or shall we stop for a rest? [lit: we continue or stop for a rest]

Vosotros no continuáis con vuestro proyecto, ¿verdad?You are not continuing with your project, are you? [lit: you don't continue]

The verb in the infinitive has the stress on the -ar at the end of the word: actu-ar, continu-ar. However, when it is conjugated in the present, the stress is on the -u in: actúo, actúas, actúas, actúan / continúo, continúas, continúa, continúan. In the nosotros and vosotros forms, the stress is on the -a at the end of the verb: actuamos, actuáis / continuamos, continuáis.

In order to break the syllable into two (i.e. to break the diphthong) and make the -u the stressed vowel, we have to put a written accent on it. Have a look at: Accents on diphthongs

Here is a list of verbs ending in -uar.

Important:

Not all verbs that end in -uar follow this rule. For example, verbs that end in -cuar allow both conjugations, with accent and without, and verbs that end in -guar don't take on extra accents at all: they are conjugated like regular -ar verbs.

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Examples and resources

Alex actúa en el Teatro Central. Es el personaje principal.Alex performs at Teatro Central. He is the main character.
En unos minutos, después del intermedio, continúa la obra.In a few minutes, after the interval, the play will continue. [lit: continues]
Los guitarristas actúan cada sábado en el bar de Miguel.The guitarists perform each Saturday at Miguel's bar.
¿A qué hora actuáis esta noche?What time are you performing tonight? [lit: do you guys perform]
Vosotros no continuáis con vuestro proyecto, ¿verdad?You are not continuing with your project, are you? [lit: you don't continue]
Creo que estamos perdidos. ¿Continuamos o paramos a descansar?I think we are lost. Shall we continue or shall we stop for a rest? [lit: we continue or stop for a rest]
Los trabajadores continúan con la huelga.The workers continue with the strike.
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