Word Stress in English Part-2 | Importance of Word Stress | Word Stress Rules

               Word Stress

Hello Everyone!
This post is about word stress in English part-2.

Word Stress means pronouncing one syllable of a multisyllabic word with more prominence or greater emphasis than the other syllables in the word. One syllable receives more emphasis than the others.
As I have already discussed about what is word stress in my previous below. To read that blog , you can click here.Word Stress Part-1


           Importance of Word Stress 

When you speak in English, it’s important to stress the correct syllable in each word to communicate clearly. We do not say all the words evenly, when we speak or communicate. We pronounce some sounds longer than the others. Those longer sounds are stressed that maintain the rhythm and clarity in our pronunciation.
The syllables that are not stressed are weak or small or quiet. Fluent speakers of English listen for the STRESSED syllables, not the weak syllables. If you use word stress in your speech, you will instantly and automatically improve your pronunciation and your comprehension.
Try to hear the stress in individual words each time you listen to English – on the radio, or in films for example. Your first step is to HEAR and recognise it. After that, you can USE it!

8 Word Stress Rules to Improve Your English Pronunciation:

Here are some general rules to keep in mind about word stress as you practise pronunciation.

1. Stress the first syllable of Nouns and adjectives with two syllables

When a noun (a word referring to a person, thing, place or abstract quality) or an adjective (a word that gives information about a noun) has two syllables, the stress is usually on the first syllable.

  • Sam-ple
  • CLE-ver
  • AP-ple
  • DIA-mond
  • HO-nest
  • MU-sic
2. Verbs and prepositions with two syllables: Stress on the second syllable

When a verb (a word referring to an action, event or state of being) or a preposition (a word that comes before a noun, pronoun, and shows its relation to another word or part of the sentence) has two syllables, the stress is usually on the second syllable.

  • pre-SENT
  • a-CHIEVE
  • bet-WEEN
  • a-BOVE
3. Words that are both a noun and a verb

Some words in English can be both a noun and a verb. In those cases, the noun has its word stress on the first syllable, and with the verb, the stress falls on the second syllable.

  • PRE-sent (N)
  • Pre-SENT (V)
  • EX-port (N)
  • Ex-PORT (V)
4. Three syllable words ending in “er” and “ly”

Words that have three syllables and end in “-er” or “-ly” often have a stress on the first syllable.

  • CER-tain-ly- Certainly
  • QUI-et-ly-  Quietly
  • OR-der-ly-  Orderly
  • manager /MA-na-ger/
5. Words ending in “ic,” “sion” and “tion”

 When a word ends in “ic,” “sion” or “tion,” the stress is usually on the second-to-last syllable. You count syllables backwards and put a stress on the second one from the end.

  • Ex-TEN-sion
  • Dis-tri-BU-tion
  • Pho-to-GRA-phic
  • Cre-A-tion
6. Words ending in “cy,” “ty,” “phy,” “gy” and “al”

When a word ends in “cy,” “ty,” “phy,” “gy” and “al,” the stress is often on the third to last syllable. Similarly, you count syllables backwards and put a stress on the third one from the end.

democracy /de-MO-cra-cy/

photography /pho-TO-gra-phy/

logical /LO-gi-cal/

commodity /com-MO-di-ty/
psychology /psy-CHO-lo-gy/

7. Compound nouns

 In most compound nouns (a noun made up of two or more existing words), the word stress is on the first noun.

football /FOOT-ball/

keyboard /KEY-board/

8. Compound adjectives and verbs

 In most compound adjectives (a single adjective made of more than one word and often linked with a hyphen) and compound verbs (a multi-word verb that functions as a single verb), the stress is on the second word.

old-fashioned /old-FA-shioned/

understand /un-der–STAND/

Mastering the subject of word stress isn’t easy, as there are many rules and exceptions. While native speakers do it naturally, English learners have to get there through a lot of practice and repetition.

Watch this video tutorial below to have better understanding for word stress and word stress rules.

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