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What is Word Stress

What is word stress teaches you to speak more clearly by helping you to focus on word stress and showing you what word stress is. Learning word stress will improve your English pronunciation, which will make you sound more fluent. Read to improve your communication skills and sound more like a native English speaker.


While some languages emphasize (give more power or weight) each syllable equally, English usually places emphasis on one syllable per word*. Word Stress is saying that appropriate syllable with more power or weight.


*Some words (mostly much longer words) have a “secondary stress,” but that is not as powerful as the primary stress. Your main focus should be on one stress.


Think about this sentence and listen to the sound clip. The stressed syllables have a capital "O."

o   O   o    o  O o      O      O  o o

In Winter, it often snows heavily. 


In Winter...






Stressed syllables sound clearer, longer and louder; they also have a higher pitch.


Funny (fun-ny) – this word has two syllables, but we don’t say fun-NY, we say FUN-ny. The part “fun” is said stronger than “ny.”


Renewal (re-new-al) – this word has three syllables. We don’t say RE-new-AL or re-new-AL. We say re-NEW-al. 


Continue to How Can I Learn Word Stress...

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