Word Stress in English

Improving Pronunciation

Stress and Intonation

Learning stress patterns of English words is just as important as learning the sounds of the vowels and consonants. Improper mastery of stress and intonation can cause misunderstanding of words, and the wrong pronunciation contributes to a “foreign accent” in English.

Words in English can have different spellings but be pronounced in the same way:

a. their / they’re / there

b. two / to / too

c. right / write / rite

Words in English can also have the same spelling but be pronounced differently:

a. lead (a metal) lead (to precede)

b. dove (a bird) dove ( jumped into water headfirst)

Mistakes in word stress are a common cause of misunderstanding in English. Stressing the wrong syllable in a word can make the word very difficult to hear and understand, and stressing a word differently can change the meaning or type of the word.

Ex: desert can be /ˈdɛzərt/ or /dɪˈzɜrt/

Pronunciation changes in words that are both nouns and verbs

There is a set of words which can be used as either a verb or a noun in English.The noun has the stress on the first syllable, and the verb on the last syllable. There are also English words that change their word class depending on stress position. Watch the videos to learn more:
Word Stress in English (5 basic rules to improve your pronunciation)
Word Stress in 2-syllable Nouns, Adjectives and Verbs (Heather Hansen)

You can practice word stress by doing the exercises below. Good Luck!