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STRESS IN ENGLISH LATEST NOTES

Some basic rules on stress :

1.Stress is placed on the root word. Suffixes and prefixes are not stressed.

Mis.use

Dis.like

Mis.trust

Mis.take

Un.condition.al

Mis, dis and un are not stressed because they are prefixes.

al too is not stressed because it is a suffix.

Regardless of whether the word is used as a noun or verb eg mis.use the first syllable cannot be stressed because it’s an affix(prefix/suffix)

NB:Throughout this long write up, the full stop indicates syllable boundary.

2.Stress falls on the syllable with a diphthong eg prosecute

Pro. se. cute

Pro is stressed because it has a diphthong /ou/

3.Stress falls on the syllable with the long vowel sound agreement, markbook

  1. gree. ment

gree is stressed because it contains a long vowel sound double e=/i:/

Mark.book

Mark is stressed because it has a long vowel sound ar =/a:/

Book has a short vowel sound double o in book produces the short o

4.In words containing suffix -ic, stress falls on the penultimate, second last syllable.you count from your right, the last syllable being ic

Photo. graph. ic

Stress falls on graph.

Scen.ic

Stress falls on scen since it’s second from last

Hor. rif. ic

Stress falls on rif since its the second last syllable

Scien. tif.ic

Stress falls on tif since it’s the penultimate

5.In a word where you have a long syllable and a short syllable,or a mono syllable,stress falls on the longer syllable

  1. buse
  2. larm

Con. dition

Stress falls on buse, larm and dition, the longer syllables.

Regardless whether the word is used as a noun or verb, the second, longer syllable is stressed.

6.In words that have double consonants

ap.proach /a.pproach

a.ssist/as.sist

a.ccent/ac.cent

Me.ssage /mes.sage

You stress the longer syllable that remains after the boundary or that remains with the double consonants ,which will be the second syllable.

NB:There are exceptions to this rule :

Col.league

Chal.lenge

The stress in the words above is on Col and chal though they are the shorter syllable and don’t have the double consonants.

7.Stress falls on the first syllable if a word is used as a noun or adjective

Re.fuse

Up. set

Pro. duce

Sub. ject

Per. fect

Fre. quent

Thus re, up, pro, sub, per and fre are stressed.

There are exceptions eg ad. vice which though a verb, has the stress falling on the second syllable like its verb counterpart ad. vise .

7.Stress falls on the second syllable if a word is used as a verb

  1. port

re.ject

con. duct

con. tent

  1. fuse

Per. fect

Fre. quent

Thus port, ject, duct, tent,fuse,fect and quent are stressed.

There are exceptions to this rule

man. age

  1. gis. ter (used as a verb)

The two have stress on the first syllable.

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