Word Stress

Stress is very important when speaking. If you don’t pronounce the stress in a word, or you pronounce it incorrectly, people may have trouble understanding you. For example, if you pronounce “I want banana” in the same length: I-want-ba-na-na, you’d sound too robotic (unnatural).

 

When a syllable is stressed, it is pronounced in three ways:

– louder

– longer

– high in pitch

 

Rules in stressing

If you see a new word, can you tell where the stress is? Is there a rule? Yes, there are rules in stressing a syllable in a word. However, these rules don’t work all the time, at least they can help you.

 

1. Nouns or adjectives with two syllables usually have stress on the first syllable.

PER-son

BREAK-fast

 

2. Verbs with two syllables usually have stress on the second syllable.

for-GET

be-GIN

 

3. Words with three syllables have stress on the first syllable.

A-ny-one

IN-ter-view

 

4. Words with four syllables or more have stress in the middle.

in-for-MA-tion

u-ni-VER-si-ty

 

Let’s practice! Which syllable should be stressed?

1. today

2. minute

3. interesting

4. communicate

5. expensive

Leave your answer in the comment.

 

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