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Ortografía

15 keys to know when writing ‘b’ or ‘v’ in Spanish

Many people have difficulty with knowing when a word is written with letter b or letter v because these are pronounced the same way. One of the best ways to learn is to practice, that is, reading and writing a lot. In this post, you will find 15 keys to write these correctly.

 

Some keys to know when it is written with letter v:

1. All the forms of the verb ‘ir’ that have this sound – except the imperfect tense of the indicative of this verb (iba)- are written with letter v.

We write:

Voy (present tense of the indicative mood)
Vas (present tense of the indicative mood)
Ven (imperative)
Vaya (present tense of the subjunctive mood)

We don’t write:

Boy
Bas
Ben
Baya (It’s incorrect if it is used like a verbal form and not lile a noun or adjective)

2. The verbs whose forms of the preterite that end in -uve, -uviste, -uvo, -uvimos, -uvisteis and -uvieron.

We write:

Tuve, tuviste, tuvo, tuvimos, tuvisteis, tuvieron

We don’t write:

Tube, tubiste, tubo(it’s incorrect like verbal form), tubimos, tubisteis, tubieron

However, as an exception is the verb ‘haber’ because all these forms are write with letter b (hube, hubiste, hubo, hubimos, hubisteis, hubieron).

3. It is written with letter v after the prefix ad-.

We write:

Adverbio
Adversario
Advertir
Advertencia

We don’t write:

Adberbio
Adbersario
Adbertir
Adbertencia

4. The words ending in -ava, -ave, -avo, -eva, -ve, -evo, -iva and -ivo are written with letter v.

We write:

Lava, grave, octavo, breve, longevo, colectivo, activa…

We don’t write:

Laba, grabe (it’s incorrect if it is not used like a verbal form of the verb ‘grabar’), octabo, brebe, longebo, colectibo, actiba…

5. The words that begin with vice-, viz- and vi- are written with letter v.

We write:

Virrey, vicepresidente, vizconde.

We don’t write:

Birrey, bicepresidente, bizconde.

6. The names of three seasons of the year (primavera, verano and invierno) are written with v./span>

7. Words beginning with eva-, eve-, evo- and evo- (except ‘ébano’ y ‘ebonita’) are written with letter v.

We write:

evacuación, evento, evitar, evolución…

We don’t write:

ebacuación, ebento, ebitar, ebolución…

8. Words ending in -voro, -vora are written with letter v.

We write:

Carnívoro.
Herbívora.

We don’t write:

Carníboro.
Herbíbora.

Some keys to know when it is written with letter b:

1. All forms of the preterite imperfect indicative of both the verbs of the first conjugation and the verb ‘ir’ (which this is in the third conjugation) are written with b.

We write:

Cantaba, cantabas, cantaba, cantábamos, cantabais, cantaban

We don’t write:

Cantava, cantavas, cantava, cantávamos, cantavais, cantavan

2. It is written with letter b all the verbal forms of the verbs ‘deber’, ‘haber’, ‘caber’ and ‘saber’ in which this sound appears.

Deber: debo (present tense of the indicative mood), debía (imperfect of the indicative mood), deberé (future tense), debería (conditional tense)…

Haber:había (imperfect of the indicative mood), habré (future tense), habría (conditional tense)…

Caber:cabía (imperfect of the indicative mood), cabré (future tense), cabría (conditional tense)…

Saber: sabemos (present tense of the indicative mood), sabía (imperfect of the indicative mood), sabré (future tense), sabría (conditional tense)

3. Verbs ending in -bir are written with letter b, except ‘hervir’, ‘servir’ and ‘vivir’.

We write:

Recibir, escribir, subir, exhibir, inscribir

We don’t write:

Recivir, escrivir, suvir, exhivir, inscrivir…

4.Words that begin with the prefixes bis- and bi- are written with letter b.

We write:

Bisabuelo, bianual, bisílaba…

We don’t write:

Visabuelo, vianual, visílaba…

5. Words ending in -bundo, -bunda are written with letter b.

We write:

Vagabundo, moribundo, nauseabunda

We don’t write:

Vagavundo, morivundo, nauseavunda…

6. All words that end in -bilidad (except amovilidad, civilidad, inamovilidad, incivilidad, inmovilidad and movilidad) are written with letter b.

We write:

Accesibilidad, amabilidad, compatibilidad, habilidad, probabilidad

We don’t write:

Accesivilidad, amavilidad, compativilidad, havilidad, probavilidad…

7. Words that begin with prefixes bien- or bene- are writen with letter b.

We write:

Bienvenido, bienestar, benemérito, beneplácito…

We don’t write:

Vienvenido, vienestar, venemérito, veneplácito…

 

Practica Español


It has been consulted for the preparation of this post:

Ortografía de uso del español, Leonardo Gómez Torrego, SM, Madrid, 2011

Breve ortografía escolar, Manuel Bustos Sousa

(Español) Exercise

Congratulations - you have completed . You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
Elige la opción correcta    
A
Evolución
B
Ebolución.
Question 2
Elige la opción correcta    
A
Boy al cine.
B
Voy al cine.
Question 3
Elige la opción correcta  
A
Tubieron un coche rojo.
B
Tuvieron un coche rojo.
Question 4
Elige la opción correcta    
A
Benció al adbersario.
B
Venció al adbersario.
C
Venció al adversario.
Question 5
Elige la opción correcta.  
A
Escribió un poema breve.
B
Escrivió un poema breve.
C
Escribió un poema brebe.
Question 6
Elige la opción correcta.    
A
Es un animal hervívoro.
B
Es un animal herbívoro.
C
Es un animal herbíboro.
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There are 6 questions to complete.

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