Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Spelling Rules - H

As most of us know, Spanish spelling is pretty straightforward because it is nearly perfect phonetically. This makes it easy to write words if you know how to pronounce them, or for that matter to pronounce them if you read them first.

However there are some spelling (or “orthographic”) rules for certain tricky letters such as H (which is mute) or B and V, as well as for the use of accent marks.

Some rules are as easy-to-remember as "M goes before P and B", however that's not usually the case. So, we'll take a look at the rules of one letter at a time for you to digest them better.

Let's start with letter H.

Rules for the use of H

  1. Write with H all the inflections of verbs whose infinitive starts with H.
    For example: haber -> he, hube, había, etc.

  2. Write with H words that start with hia-, hie-, hue- and hui-.
    For example: hiato, hierba, hiel, huésped, huevo, huír.

  3. Write with H words that start with hidr-, hiper- and hipo-.
    For example: hidrofobia, hipertensión, hipoteca, hipopótamo.

  4. Write with H words that start with homo-, heter-, hexa-, hect-, hepta- and hum-, except for éter, eterno, umbral, umbilical, and umbrío (or derivates of these words).
    For examples:homófono, heterosexual, hexágono, hectárea, hectagonal, humo.

  5. Write with H words that start with hos-, holg-, herb-, hist-, host- and hor-, except for orear, orla, oro, órgano, orgullo, orar, orden, oriente, ortodoxo, origen, orificio, ornar, orca (whale),ornamentar, ormesí, ornitología, ostentar, ostra, ostirio, istmeño (or derivates of these words).
    For example: hospital, holgazán, holgado, hospitalidad, histórico, hortelano, horca(gallows).

  6. Write with H the following interjections: ¡ah!, ¡bah!, ¡eh!, ¡hala!, ¡hola!, ¡hurra!, ¡huy!, ¡oh!

  7. Most derivates of words whose root start with H are also spelled with an H at the beginning of the word. However, there are somo exceptions: orfandad and orfanato (from huérfano); ovíparo, ovalo, ovoide and ovario (from huevo); osamenta, óseo, osificar and osario (from hueso).

Words that need an H, without rules
  1. Words that need an intermediate H: ahí, ahinco, ahora, ahorcar, alcohol, alhaja, dehesa, almohada, anhelar, coherente, cohete, cohibir, moho, zanahoria, exhortar, adhesivo, inhalación, exhalación, vehemencia, exhibir, rehusar, ahogador, prohibir.

  2. Some derivatives of words that use h, but a prefix has been added: deshonesto (des+honesto), inhumano (in+humano), clorhídrico (clor+hídrico), rehabilitar (re+habilitar).

  3. Words that need to start with an H: herencia, herida, hermano, hermenéutica, hermético, hernia, héroe, herpe, hígado, hincapié, hincar, hinchar, hacienda, hacha, hache, hada, Haití, halagar, halar, halcón, hálito, halo, hallar, hamaca, haragán, hindú, hinojo.

Homophones with and without H
  1. huno (hun) and uno (one)
  2. hola (hello) and ola (wave)
  3. hartes (conjugation for hartar) and artes (arts)
  4. deshecho (destroyed) and desecho (waste)
  5. hojear (to pass pages) and ojear (to look)
  6. errar (to miss or to fail, to wander) and herrar (to trim with iron)
  7. halaba (conjugation for halar) and alaba (conjugation for alabar)
  8. abría (conjugation for abrir) and habría (conjugation for haber)
  9. hablando (conjugation for hablar) and ablando (conjugation for ablandar)
  10. hinca (conjugation for hincar) and inca (South American indian)
  11. hasta (until) and asta (flagpole)

1 comment:

spanish courses in Tenerife said...

Very useful post, i'm gonna try this out and hopefully my spanish will be better in some months, thanks for sharing