10 – Pronunciation: Thought Groups & Word Stress

English speakers often connect words into thought groups. This connection is based on the function of words and how a sentence is organized. Sometimes there is punctuation after a thought group (like a
‘,’, ’:’ and ’;’) to indicate a pause, but often speakers just naturally pause without punctuation. Look at some examples of thought groups.

A. Listen to the following example from the monologue. The different thought groups are underlined. Listen for the pauses between the thought groups.

B. In thought groups, there is some flexibility for which content* words receive more stress. However, the final content word of a thought group is always stressed. Listen to the sentence below. It will be spoken two different ways. *Review unit 5 for content words and their stress.

C. Underline the thought groups in the sentences below. Then listen to the speakers. It will be spoken two different ways. Circle the words in each thought group that receive stress in either recording. Click “next” at the bottom of the page to check your answers.

Read the report in exercise 10 aloud. Pay attention to how you stress the
words in the thought groups. Practice alternating stress to make it sound more rhythmic and natural.