picture of man with airplane

Riding on an airplane, AEROplane for British English, can be a stressful experience. Now you can use the phrase “stress on a MaN’S AErOplane” to determine the stress syllable in Portuguese words.

The general rule is that if a Portuguese word ends in ‘a’, ‘e’, or ‘o’, the stress is on the penultimate (second to last) syllable. The prefix “aero” is used as a reminder of this rule as aero has all three vowels that cause the penultimate stress. Of course the ‘r’ in aero is not a vowel, but since it is also the second to last letter it also reminds us of the penultimate stress rule.

As with all general rules, there are exceptions. This is where the phrase “stress on a MaN’S AErOplane” is used. If the same vowels of ‘a’, ‘e’, or ‘o’ are found immediately before words ending in ‘m’, ‘s’, or ‘ns’, the same penultimate stress rule applies. The word “MaN’S” has the ‘m’,  ‘s’, and ‘ns’ to remind us of the additional penultimate stress rule.

Generally, all other Portuguese words have their stress on the last syllable unless there is an acute accent(´), circumflex accent(^), or tilde(~) above a letter. If the word has one of the three previous mentioned diacritical marks above a letter that syllable is stressed.

For more detailed explanation of Portuguese stress rules see Livro de Estilo

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