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The Rules Of Word Stress


Word stress is your magic key to understanding spoken English. Native speakers of English use word stress naturally. Word stress is so natural for them that they don't even know they use it. Non-native speakers who speak English to native speakers without using word stress, encounter two problems:
  1. They find it difficult to understand native speakers, especially those speaking fast.
  2. The native speakers may find it difficult to understand them.
1.RULE 1 : two syllable words

a)Noun/Adj of 2 syllables: stress 1st syllable:

Ex: student, table, sticker... happy, random, courage....
Except: machine , event

b)Verbs of 2 syllables :stress 2nd syllable
Ex: to admit, to intent, to construct...

c)Verbs of 2 syllables-ending with OW, EN, Y, EL, ER, LE, ISH :stress 1st syllable
Ex: to open, to follow, to hurry, to struggle, to flatter, to finish..

2.RULE 2 : three or > three syllable words
- stress 3rd syllable- counting backwards: nhấn vần thứ 3 từ sau đếm tới.
Ex: to celebrate,curriculum, to unify...
Except: to develop, imagine, banana

3.RULE 3 : suffixes:
a) stress before CIV(consonant-I-vowel)
Ex: australia, religious, physician..

b) stress before IC
Ex: titanic, panasonic, pacific....
Except: rhetoric, lunatic, catholic, arithmetic, politics, Arabic

c) stress on the following ending syllables: ADE, OO, OON, EE, EEN, EER, ESE, ISE, IZE, AIRE, SELF
Ex: pickaboo, millionaire, cocoon, analyze, engineer, themselves....

d) stress before TION, TAL
Ex: tradition, continental,....

4. RULE 4: phrases
4.1. noun phrases:
a) WH - to inf ; whether/if-to inf ; gerund+ obj :stress on the last word
Ex: what to do, learning english...

b) compound nouns :
* N+N , N+gerund , gerund+N: stress on 1st element
Ex : river bank, coal mining, living room...

** N + adj : stress on N
Ex: a handsome and good man...

*** N( possession, material, component) + N: stress on both of them
Ex : my father's book, wood chair, egg cake...

4.2. adj / adv phrases : stress on the last word
Ex : the book on the table, the girl standing overthere, in the morning , by car...

5. RULE 5 : sentences stress on
* verbs : the last verb
* nouns : the last noun
* adv
* complement
* before commas
* on reflexive pronouns
Ex: I go to school and learn English
I do it myself