Más is the twenty-third most common word in the Spanish Language.
Más is a comparative adverb and helps form the comparative (e.g. bigger in English) and the superlative (the biggest). In essence, the word can be translated as “more” in English.
Mas without the accent on the a is a conjunction and means “but”. The use of mas tends to be more literary. Pero is the more common word for but (see Spanish high frequency word number 22 – pero the twenty second most common word in the Spanish language).
You may well ask, what is all this about with and without an accent. Well, I would not worry too much. Increasingly, the Spaniards themselves are becoming relaxed about the use of accents – but the grammar pendants (and, on occasion, I have been known to be a bit of a grammar pedant myself) would still prefer for accents to be used (especially when the accent changes the meaning of a word) accurately and appropriately.
Here are some examples of the use of más
España es más barata que Inglaterra – Spain is cheaper than England (literally more cheap)
Juan es más grande que Roberto. – Juan is taller than Roberto (literally more tall)
Juan es más inteligente que Juanita – Juan is more intelligent than Juanita.
There we are – mas (but) without the accent and más (more) with the accent – the twenty third most common word in the Spanish language.
Do you have any thoughts about the use of accents in Spanish? Why not comment below?