BAC 2012 - Rules of Word Stress in English

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Rules of Word Stress in English

 

1 Stress on first syllable

rule

example

Most 2-syllable nouns

PRESent, EXport, CHIna, TAble

Most 2-syllable adjectives

PRESent, SLENder, CLEVer, HAPpy

2 Stress on last syllable

rule

example

Most 2-syllable verbs

to preSENT, to exPORT, to deCIDE, to beGIN

 

3 Stress on penultimate syllable (penultimate = second from end)

rule

example

Words ending in -ic

GRAPHic, geoGRAPHic, geoLOGic

Words ending in -sion and -tion

teleVIsion, reveLAtion

 

4 Stress on ante-penultimate syllable (ante-penultimate = third from end)

rule

example

Words ending in -cy, -ty, -phy and -gy

deMOcracy, dependaBIlity, phoTOgraphy, geOLogy

Words ending in -al

CRItical, geoLOGical

5 Compound words (words with two parts)

rule

example

For compound nouns, the stress is on the first part

BLACKbird, GREENhouse

For compound adjectives, the stress is on the second part

bad-TEMpered, old-FASHioned

For compound verbs, the stress is on the second part

to underSTAND, to overFLOW

 






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