Does ‘esta’ have an accent?

Quick answer – there are 3 different forms (well, actually, 2) of the word ‘esta’. ‘Esta’ without an accent means ‘this’ or ‘this one’ when referring to a feminine noun, ‘ésta’ with an accent on the ‘e’ used to be a demonstrative pronoun but is now obsolete, and ‘está’ is the third person singular conjugation of the verb ‘estar’ in the present tense.

If you’re not used to paying attention to accents when writing (yep, I’m looking at you English speakers), then Spanish can be confusing at times. For example, ‘cómo’ and ‘como’ don’t mean the same thing, nor do ‘paso’ and ‘pasó’ … needless to say, accents are pretty important!

And what about ‘esta’? Does it have an accent?

Well, the answer is: sometimes!

To help you understand EXACTLY when ‘esta’ requires an accent, we´re going to look at three different words: ‘esta’, ‘ésta’ and ‘está’. One of them is an adjective or a pronoun, one is outdated, so you can just forget about it (phew!), and the last one is a conjugation of the verb ‘estar’.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty!

When to use ‘esta’ in Spanish

‘Esta’ (with NO accent) is the feminine form of ‘este’, meaning ‘this’.

It’s what we grammar geeks call a demonstrative adjective OR pronoun (depending on the way it’s used).

Esta’ is an adjective when used BEFORE a noun –

Esta sopa está demasiado caliente.

This soup is too hot.

Esta idea me gusta más.

I like this idea better.

Ya no quiero esta gorra.

I don’t want this hat anymore.

Esta’ can also be a pronoun, meaning ‘this one’ or ‘this’, when referring to a feminine noun which has already been mentioned –

Esta es para ti, y esta es para mí.

This one’s for you, and this one’s for me.

Le expusieron la idea a la profesora, pero esta se rehusó.

They proposed the idea to the professor, but she refused.

¿Me pasas la cuchara? – ¿Cuál? ¿Esta?

Can I have the spoon? – Which one? This one?

Esta no me contesta.

This one won’t answer the phone.

When to use ‘ésta’ in Spanish

‘Ésta’ with an accent on the ‘e’ is also the feminine form of ‘este’ and can only be used as a pronoun (NOT as an adjective!).

There’s one caveat though …

The Royal Spanish Academy used to say that ‘este’ and ‘esta’, meaning ‘this one’, could be written with an accent in order to avoid ambiguity.

However, ambiguity hasn’t really shown to be a problem here and that pesky accent on the ‘e’ actually ended up creating even more confusion. As a result, the Royal Spanish Academy currently DOESN´T recommend that ‘este’ or ‘esta’ be written with an accent.

If you do come across the words ‘éste’ or ‘ésta’, it will probably be in a fairly old text. Just remember that they mean ‘this one’, but there’s no need for you to commit them to memory or actually use them.

When to use ‘está’ in Spanish

‘Está’ with an acute accent on the ‘a’ is the conjugation of the verb ‘estar’ for ‘él’, ‘ella’, ‘usted’ (‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’ and ‘formal you’) in the present tense.

Juan está cansado.

Juan is tired.

Ana está en Brasil.

Ana is in Brazil.

La pasta está fría.

The pasta is cold.

El vuelo está retrasado.

The flight is delayed.

¿Usted, está listo?

You, are you ready?

¿Está en el parque?

Are you in the park?

Erika’s top tip – está’ isn’t the only way to say ‘you are’ in Spanish … check out our article on es’ (ser) vs ‘está’ (estar) if you’d like to find out more or still get the two confused!

Final thoughts

That’s all for today! Hopefully you now know when to whack an accent on ‘esta’ and in which contexts! Yipee!

Always pay attention to accents in Spanish and try to actually use them in your writing (it’s very easy to get lazy!). They’re there for a good reason …

It’s usually not a problem to text without using them, but it can be very, very confusing in some situations.

Oh, and if you’re in the mood for a bit more grammar, definitely head to our article on su‘ vs ‘sus next!

¡Hasta pronto!

Esta’ vs ‘Está’ quiz

Choose between ‘esta’ or ‘está’

1. __________ casa es de mi hermana.

2. Bruno vive en __________ calle.

3. Buenos Aires __________ en la costa del Atlántico.

4. __________ pregunta es muy interesante.

5. ¿ __________ Juan ahí?

6. __________ muy triste.

7. Ya olvidé qué dice __________ canción.

8. __________ muy nublado.

9. __________ silla es mi favorita.

10. __________ película es un clásico.

11. ¿ __________ bien?

12. __________ carretera va a Yucatán.

13. __________ en el cajón.

14. Ya leí __________ novela.

15. Bianca __________ en Italia.

Answers –

1. Esta    

2. esta   

3. está  

4. Esta  

5. Está   

6. Está   

7. esta   

8. Está    

9. Esta   

10. Esta   

11. Está    

12. Esta     

13. Está    

14. esta     

15. está

Carlos is a Spanish and English teacher. He studied Language and Literature and has a diploma in teaching Spanish as a foreign language from the prestigious National Autonomous University of Mexico.

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