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  • So I'm making this video for Mariano Garcia who subscribes to this YouTube channel and

  • follows my weekly videos at www.englishpronunciationroadmap.com. And he posted a comment on one of my videos

  • a couple of weeks ago on intonation and said you know 'great video but which word in

  • a sentence do I stress?'.

  • He understands that content words versus structural words like grammatical words are more important

  • and to stress so: verbs and nouns and adjectives. But in a typical sentence is there anything

  • I can do to help me know which word i should be putting most of the emphasis on.

  • And you know i'm sure some of you that are watching this video now it sort of asking

  • yourself the same question. There are all of these rules about how to stress a syllable

  • and how to stress a word which are quite useful, but when I got a sentence or a question or

  • a comment or statement or exclamation which word in that sentence or that phrase should

  • I stress.

  • And there are scores and scores of ideas about this and how you should do it in English and

  • in British English. I guess a really simple and straightforward way of thinking about

  • it would be to ask which word in your phrase or in your sentence carries the most important

  • bit of information.

  • And of course that can change depending on the circumstances in which are talking, depending

  • on the person you're talking to, depending on the content of your conversation. And so

  • it's a very flexible thing and I guess requires you to be really specific about what you want

  • the listener to take away: what's the most important piece of information.

  • And so if you have a look at this question: “did you know that she crashed the car?”

  • just listen to the way in which the meaning of this sentence changes when I stress a different

  • word in the question. So have a listen to this:

  • DID you know that she crashed the car?” questions whether the other person knew about

  • the event at all.

  • did YOU know that she crashed the car?” questions in a sort of accusatory way as to

  • whether the other person knew.

  • did you KNOW that she crashed the car?” questions whether the other person knew for

  • certain.

  • did you know that SHE crashed the car?” questions whether the other person is sure

  • of who is responsible.

  • did you know that she CRASHED the cars?” questions whether the other person knew the

  • state of the car.

  • did you know that she crashed THE car?” questions whether the listener knows that

  • it's the best one.

  • did you know that she crashed the CAR?” questions whether the other person knew that

  • it was the car that she crashed as opposed to something else.

  • Another way to think about word stress in sentences is to think about tone units. Take

  • a look at this sentence.

  • You can see how the sentence is broken up into units with forward slashes. It's broken

  • up into these little tone units or what I tend to refer to as phrases. And the main

  • stressed word in each of those tone units or those phrases is often called the tonic

  • syllable. And the word stress rule is that in a typical sentence it tends to be that

  • the tonic syllable/the main stressed word in that unit tends to be the last content

  • word in that sentence.

  • And it certainly holds true in this little example, so have a listen to this:

  • 'I was WONDERING / whether you might be INTERESTED / in coming to a PLAY that I'm

  • going to. / It's at the ROYALl / this coming FRIDAY. / It's about a GUY / who loses EVERYTHING

  • / and DISCOVERS himself. / It's got really great REVIEWS / and I THOUGHT / that we could

  • go to that Italian PIZZA place / close to the TUBE station. / Their DOUGH-balls / are

  • AMAZING!'

  • So you can hear how it's the last content word in those phrases that tends to get the

  • main stress or we would say that that's the main stressed word in that tone unit or in

  • that phrase. And that might be another way of thinking about which word should I stress

  • in my sentences.

  • And just two extra things to think about that might be useful is to know that new information

  • in a conversation is always worth stressing so for instance: “have you read the new

  • Dot Hutchison book? No, but have you read the new Matthew Norman book?”.

  • So then you piece of information and in that example it was the new author that gets the

  • stress in the sentence because it's the new piece of information.

  • And the same thing goes for contrasting information in an exchange. So for instance: “I haven't

  • SEEN the new car but I've HEARD about it”, “do you prefer ROSES or LILLIES?”

  • So one way of thinking about word stress in sentences is to think about which word carries

  • the most importance, the most important information in what it is that you're saying, and that

  • gets the most stress; and the second way is to think about these tone units and to think

  • about the tonic syllable which tends to be the last content word in each phrase that

  • you're using within the whole sentence; the third way is to think about new information,

  • what new information comes up in your exchange in conversation; and the last thing is to

  • think about contrasting information and how that helps both of you to understand how the

  • conversation moves forward and how you interact with one another.

  • So Mariano I hope you found that useful and everyone else I hope you found that useful.

  • If you're watching this on youtube and you're a subscriber great. Go down, leave a thumbs

  • up or thumbs down, make a comment. Who knows I might make a video in response to one of

  • your replies but if you're not a subscriber, subscribe now. I post weekly videos here so

  • hit subscribe and I can speak to you next week.

  • You may want to go over to my website www.englishpronunciationroadmap.com there is a lot of free videos, a load of free

  • downloads and there's some courses that you can download, an e-book that I wrote last

  • year that has been helping many, many of the people that I work with and I'll speak to

  • you soon.

So I'm making this video for Mariano Garcia who subscribes to this YouTube channel and

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A2 UK stress sentence crashed word stress information syllable

Word Stress Rules

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    BryceLam posted on 2020/04/02
Video vocabulary