How to Pronounce English Words — Word Stress in English

Hey, it’s Annemarie with
Speak Confident English, and this week we’re going to focus on
how to speak clearly in English using words stress correctly. This is one of the most important
parts of English pronunciation. Many of my students worry about speaking
English clearly and they’re afraid that their accent makes it hard for
other people to understand them. But most of the time the
problem isn’t really accent. It’s word stress. Word stress is essential for
sounding natural in English. It’s part of our natural rhythm.
When we speak in this lesson today, you’re going to learn exactly what
words stress is, how you can use it, and at the end I’m going to share with
you how to pronounce some of the most challenging words in English and be
sure that you’re doing it correctly. [inaudible] So let’s start with what exactly is
word stress and why is it so important? Native speakers’ ears are trained
to listen for very specific sounds, and if a sound in a word isn’t correct, if it’s not stressed in the right way, it means that either they don’t understand
the word correctly or they don’t understand it at all. Now
to understand words stress, there’s one thing you must know. You have to know what a syllable is. All of our words have much smaller
parts and these are called syllables. A word might have only
one syllable like dog, cat, walk, drive, desk. Even words like strengths or
stretched have only one syllable. They’re longer words, but there’s just one syllable syllables
are all about the different sounds of a word, not the length of a word. And here is a really great trick
for knowing each syllable in a word, syllables are usually made up of one
vowel sound and our chin drops every time you use a syllable. I want
you to do something with me. I want you to put your hand under your
chin and I want you to say the word dog. Dog. Do you notice that your chin moves down
one time when you say the word dog? That’s because there’s only one
syllable. Let’s try another one. Again, I want you to put your hand under your
chin and this time I want you to say the word identification. If we
slow this word way down, I want you to count how many
syllables are i-den-ti-fi-ca-tion. What do you think? How many times
did you feel your chin moved down? The number should be six and that is a
syllable every time your chin moves with one of those vowel sounds, it
is a part of a word, a syllable. Now that you know what
syllables are all about, let’s go back and talk about why these
are so important for word stress. In English, we do not stress
every syllable in a word. Instead we stress one syllable. Let me show you the
difference. Identification. Identification. Do you notice that stress? My voice goes up. It’s louder
and it’s clear when I say -ca. If I stressed every syllable equally, it would sound like this:
i-den-ti-fi-ca-tion. For example, I need your identification. That doesn’t sound natural at
all because it isn’t natural. We do not stress every syllable in a word. Let’s try another example. I’m going to listen to a
record today in that sentence, I’m using record as a noun, but this word could also be a verb and
in that case I need to change which syllable I stress. For example, I’m going to record some music today. Record the syllable. Stress has changed and as a result, native speakers immediately
recognize it as a verb. There are several words in English
that can be both nouns and verbs, but we have to be careful
about how we say them. We have to change which
syllable we stress, and I’m going to share the most
important ones with you in a moment. Now that you know what word
stress is and why it’s important, it’s time to figure out which
syllable should you stress in a word. And there are a few ways that you can do
that and here’s where I’m going to give you a really helpful trick for
those long scary words in English. The first thing that you can do is listen
to native speakers carefully and see if you can hear which syllable
is stressed in a word. The next thing that you can do is you
could use a dictionary to help you as well. In a dictionary, you’ll always find the phonetic spelling
of a word and there is an apostrophe before the stressed syllable. So if we look at the word refrigerator, we can see that there’s an apostrophe
just before fridge refrigerator. Now the truth is, you don’t always have time to look in a
dictionary and sometimes even if you’re listening carefully, it’s hard to identify which
syllable a native speaker stresses. So I’ve got three tricks
to help you. Number one, for most nouns and adjectives
that have two syllables, you will stress the first syllable.
Let’s look at some examples. Climate, parent, knowledge, flippant, spacious, basic, object. If you noticed in
each of those examples, I said the first syllable louder, longer, higher and clear, and a great way for you to practice
is simply listen to me say those and immediately repeat what you
hear. After you do that. Let’s move on to rule number two. We just talked about nouns and
adjectives with two syllables, but now let’s talk about
verbs with two syllables. Most of the time with verbs
that have two syllables, you’re going to stress the second
syllable. Let’s look at some examples. Become, embrace, reflect, forgive, adore, object. Did you notice that last one? An object is a noun, to object is a verb and we’ve
switched which syllable gets stressed. An object, to object. This is exactly like that example of to
record and a record that we talked about earlier, so let’s look at a few more examples of
words that could be verbs or nouns and how we need to change the
stress on increase to increase, decrease to decrease, a refund to refund, an invite to invite, a project to project. Again, I want you to practice by listening
to those and repeating what you hear. It’s a great way to develop that
pattern and become more familiar, more comfortable with word stress. Now. If you want more examples just like that, I’ve got those for you in the online
lesson and you’ll find a link just below this video. But now let’s move on
to the third and final rule today, which is how to identify which syllable
to stress and really long words like I’m going to say each of these words out loud
and I want you to listen carefully to see if you notice any
patterns with these words. Administration, exploitation, communication, interruption, accusation, intervention, abbreviation, extension in comprehension. All right? What did you notice? Did you find a pattern of
which syllable I said louder, longer, higher and clear. Do you notice that all of these
words end with the sound -tion/-sion: incomprehension administration, exploitation interruption? They all have the -tion/-sion
sound and if you listen carefully, I’m stressing the syllable
just before -tion/-sion. Listen carefully. Administration, interruption communication, exploitation in comprehension, stressing the right syllable, and those longer words will ensure that
you’re communicating much more clearly and that you sound more natural in
English. Now I’m going to test you. I want you to choose a word from
this list. Create a sentence, share your sentence with
me in the comments below, but I want you to tell me which syllable
in that word that you should stress. Now, if you found this video helpful
to you, be sure to give it a thumbs up, share it with friends, and be sure to subscribe to this
channel so that you never miss a future confident English lesson. I’ve also got a playlist available for
you with additional lessons on how to sound more natural and speak
clearly in English. With that, thank you so much for joining me. Have a wonderful week and I’ll see you
next time for your Confident English lesson.

72 thoughts on “How to Pronounce English Words — Word Stress in English

  1. 1st comment, and can you put a period next to the words “six” and “syllable” and a capital “E” in “every”? 3:11

  2. Thank you! This is an amazing video! As an English learner I remember when I first started studying English I soon become frustrated, because I wasn't able to speak it "well, but I kept it at, after some time I realized that I was becoming more and more flaunt every day!

  3. Hi Annemarie,
    Wonderful lesson about how to pronounce English words with stress. I admire your suggestions and follow for improvement.
    Thank you.

  4. Administration is under an accusation of unfair intervention for guarantee service extension due to communication with incomprehension.

  5. Thanks for the lesson ! I like to think that my comprehension of it is quite good ! The stress on (hen) :). Your voice is really comforting ! Have a good one !

  6. Good evening mam,only one of the best English spoken channel and you are so amazing online English teaching

  7. Thanks Annemarie for useful & amazing videos l found out a lot of things I'm looking forward to the others.

  8. We bought some PREsents for our friend but she didn't want us to preSENT them in front of the camera.

  9. You should create a business model for yourself to teach online, so that most English learners can benefit from your great teaching style. Thanks for the video.

  10. I love your videos. You're a really beauty woman to look, your voice is really smooth and nice to hear and the most important thing, your videos really help me out. Thank you very much.

  11. Hi Annemarie. Thanks for your lessons. I love it because you speak and teach us clearly is pretty easy to understanding. I chose the word exploiTAtion. Here my sentence. "Mineral exploiTAtion causes big damage to our environment". Regards, Bye.

  12. Sometimes , the clear communication is very dificult. Sílaba tônica communi'cation.", right? I love your videos!

  13. Hi Annemarie! Thank you for your lesson. Very nice and clear explanation.
    Here is my sentence: Student needs interVENtion that he can improve reading and communiCAtion skills.

  14. What a wonderful way to teach! You are so classy, anyone could see your video for hours. Thank you for teaching us not only English but also politeness, gracefulness, and elegance.

  15. Thank you very much for this video, it helps me to learn a lot about how to stress a word and how to identify syllables

  16. Thank you very much!
    It's an amazing LESson, i needed these strategies to improve my pronunCIAtion.

  17. Anne-Marie your videos are amazing. I wish I had an English teacher like you in school. Keep up the good work. God bless you.
    My sentence would be "May I get an EXTENsion to complete the project"
    Considered extension as noun.
    Hope this is correct. Pls correct me.

  18. Thank you so much for this lesson. At my workplace my manager is a firm believer in exploitation! I stressed the "ta" before "tion".

  19. I can’t say enough about this video.
    The best explanation for stress sound in English.
    You did a great job.
    I listened to this video 10 times today.

    Thank you so much. God bless you!

  20. Sensational!, you really a big help for me. As a respose to your suggestion i would choose abbreviation. ( stress in 3rd syllable)

    Abbreviation helps me in writing
    English such as city and state. Milleanians often use this for group of words.

  21. As you deserve, I give top grade for you. Excellent clues and examples of word stress.
    God reward you with health, joy, money, success and more fame. Walmir (Brazil).

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