6 – Pronunciation – Word Stress in Sentences

A: Word stress is important to sounding natural when speaking English. Word stress is different from syllable stress. Syllable stress refers to the part of the word that gets more stress than other parts. Listen to the following words from examples in the listening.

B: Word stress refers to specific words in a phrase or statement that receive more stress than other words in the same phrase or statement. Listen to the following examples:

Generally, the words that contain meaning important to the phrase or statement are more stressed than other words. Words that contain meaning are also usually nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and negative auxiliary verbs that are contracted (i.e. “don’t”, “haven’t”, “isn’t”).

C: The words that are not normally stressed in a sentence are considered “structure” words. They are necessary to make the grammar of the sentence correct, but they are not typically essential to the meaning of the sentence. These words include articles, prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions, and auxiliary verbs. Listen to the following examples from the dialogue:

D: Sometimes structure words can be emphasized in order to make the meaning clearer or to put focus on something specific.

Look at the statements below. Underline the words that should be stressed in the sentence. Click “next” at the bottom of the page to check your answers.