Word Stress - English Grammar - English Free Test|Englishfreetest.com

Word Stress - English Grammar - English Free Test

What is Word Stress?

In many languages such as in English, all the syllables in multisyllabic words are not equally stressed (spoken with some kind of a force or strength) when they are pronounced. WORD-STRESS is also sometimes referred to as WORD ACCENT.

In English, we do not say each syllable with the same force or strength. This means that one part of a certain word is said louder and longer than other parts of the same word. In one word, we accentuate ONE syllable. We say one syllable very loudly (big, strong, important) and all the other syllables very quietly.

The syllable which is pronounced with greater force is called the stressed syllable. You can also call it the accented syllable. "Accent" in this case means "emphasis". English has its typical WORD-STRESS pattern.

It is something that is completely natural for English speakers, but something ESL students can learn from practicing their conversational skills and by learning the rules for using word stress.

When speaking, it is important to put the stress on the correct syllable. Otherwise, it would sound unnatural, and might even be difficult to understand!

A few things to remember:

  1. A word can only have one stress. In a very long word you can have a secondary stress but it is always a much smaller stress.
  2. Only vowels are stressed, not consonants. The vowels in English are a, e, i, o, and u. The consonants are all the other letters.