English Pronunciation: Word Stress & Emphasis Tips

Tip One:  Even without having “perfect” pronunciation, you can sound more like a native speaker of English. You do it by learning to emphasize the right words in a sentence.

Rubberband stretching stress emphasis pronunciation EnglishEmphasize means to say something louder and stretch it out longer. Imagine that you are holding a rubber band. When you get to these important words, imagine stretching the rubber band.

Which words are they? We call them content words, or the words that hold the meaning of the sentence. They are the

  • nouns
  • action verbs
  • adjectives
  • adverbs
  • question words
  • negatives.

For example:

A: What are you doing later?

B: I’m going to hang out with some friends.

A: Where are you going to go and what are you going to do?

B: I think we’re going to go to the park and play soccer.

A: I don’t like soccer, or I’d ask to go with you. I’m a terrible player. I run really slowly.

B: Next time, we can do something you like better.

Syllabication syllables emphasis stress word English chartTip Two is to emphasize the stressed syllable of words that have more than one syllable. Look at the dialogue again. The blue syllables should be louder and longer than the other syllables in that word.

A: What are you doing later?

B: I’m going to hang out with some friends.

A: Where are you going to go and what are you going to do?

B: I think we’re going to go to the park and play soccer.

A: I don’t like soccer, or I’d ask to go with you. I’m a terrible player. I run really slowly.

B: Next time, we can do something you like better.

If you work hard on stretching out those important words and syllables, native speakers of English will be able to understand you more easily even if you don’t pronounce English sounds perfectly!

Do you want to know MORE about English pronunciation and word stress? Watch PELA’s video classes! (Of course, if you’re a PELA student, come to our FREE classes every Thursday at 1:30PM!)

comments