Previously, in The Guide 2000, we have already seen what kinds of words the word “like” can be when it is unstressed (you can remember it by clicking on the following link: como); Today, we are going to see what kind of word is “how” when it has an accent, that is, when it is a stressed word.


When in a text we find the word “how” written with a tilde on the vowel of the first syllable, we are faced with an interrogative or exclamatory adverb. This adverb serves, then, to introduce sentences whose sentence modality is the interrogation or the exclamation. It can be:

– Direct interrogative or exclamatory sentences:

How was your day today?

How he knew everything!

– Indirect interrogative or exclamatory sentences:

I can't figure out how that wizard did that.

There's no way to make him see reason.

Semantically, this “how” normally has a modal value, that is, it is equivalent to “in what way”, “of what way”, but we can also find it with a causal value.

Modal value: How did you manage to fix grandpa's old radio? > How did you manage to fix grandpa's old radio?

Causal value: How come you didn't come to the meeting the school organized in the end? > Why didn't you come to the meeting organized by theschool?

Sometimes, the presence of some words influences the word “how”. It is recommended to write it with a tilde when it is preceded by the preposition "according to", the verb "to depend" or the adverb "independently"; since, in these cases, it is generally interpreted as an interrogative.


They will treat you according to how you treat them.

Whether I go on that trip depends on how your friends like me.

Regardless of how you achieve it, the result will be a success.

Although, here the adverb can also have a relative value and therefore its writing without an accent is not considered incorrect.


Interrogative value: It will seem better or worse depending on how you say it > It will seem better or worse depending on how you say it.

Relative value: It will seem better or worse depending on how you say it > It will seem better or worse depending on how you say it.

In the Spanish of ancient times, the use of “como” was frequent, as an exclamatory adverb, followed by a verb to emphasize adjectives. This usage is preserved in American Spanish, while in Spanish of Spain it has been replaced by “qué”.


Old English: How brave is this knight!

American Spanish: How cute are you!, but you won't get away with it.

Spanish from Spain: How attentive is this guy!

However, it is used, both in America and in Spain, the adverb “how”in exclamatory sentences of ponderative value with adjectives, adverbs or nouns followed by the preposition “of”.


How sad your grandfather will be!

How good it will be at the beach!

How beautiful is this plant!

Sometimes, when you want to express disagreement or surprise, you use the exclamatory adverb “how” plus the conjunction “that”, eliding the verb “say”.


How come I didn't do anything! > How can you say I didn't do anything!

Another frequent use of the word “how” is the one in which it appears followed by the adverb “no”, with a meaning, actually, affirmative.


Could I try on this dress? how not Go to the fitting room.

The adverb “how”, in addition, can be substantiated by the presence of an article that precedes it.


He didn't tell us how or why.

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