In general, Spanish spelling is consistent with pronunciation, meaning that the same letters are pronounced the same way across most contexts. This is good news for learners because it means that learning to spell and pronounce Spanish is relatively simple and transparent.
In Spanish, letters representing vowels are always pronounced (unlike in English). There are also no silent vowels in Spanish, except for the sequences qu and gui or gue that have a silent u. The following table lists the Spanish vowels, gives an example of a Spanish word, and also gives an example of an English word that has a similar vowel sound.
Spanish consonants are fairly consistent with English, so only those that differ form English will be presented in the following table:
Accents, if present, always indicate the stress of a word in Spanish. Otherwise, the second last syllable of a word carries the stress (unless the word ends in "r", "z", or "l" in which case the last syllable of the word carries the stress), e.g.:
Be careful with words that mean the same, but have slightly different spellings in English and in Spanish. Even though the spelling is the same, keep in mind the pronunciation is likely different. Some common pairs of cognates are given in the following table:
Homophones are words that are pronounced the same, but have different spellings. These differences must be respected when writing. Some of the most common homophones in Spanish are presented below: