Themes > Personnel > Stress

This time it is not "executive stress" but word and sentence stress!

Word Stress

Non-native speakers of English can sometimes be difficult to understand. Very often this is because they mispronounce some of the individual sounds in words (we looked at some of these sounds in the first issue of POSTSCRIPT). At other times, words are not easily recognised because the speaker has stressed the wrong part of the word (s/he has put the emphasis on the wrong syllable).

To give an example of word stress, advertise has the stress on the first syllable (advertise), but in British English, advertisement has the stress on the second syllable (advertisement). (Just to confuse you, it is advertisement in American English!).

Except for differences between British and other varieties of English, word stress, within a region, does not change. It is therefore a very useful strategy to mark the word stress when you learn and write down a new word.

Look at the words in the box. Do you know where the stress on each word should be? Press the "Answer" button to see if you are right! The first one is done for you!

'manager industry








Sentence Stress

In a sentence, some words are stronger than others. The stress is put on the words which give the main information. It is important for listeners to be able to recognise what is important in a sentence.

Unlike word stress, which is static, sentence stress is variable, according to the message the speaker wishes to communicate. For example, the sentence, "John and Sally walked to the small restaurant yesterday evening" can be said in nine different ways, stressing a different word each time. Try doing this, and each time think about the different message you are conveying.



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