Word Stress

Word stress rules

One word can only have one stress.

Only vowels can be stressed.  (a, e, i, o, u)

There are other rules to word stress but most have exceptions.  It is better to simply be aware of the concept and try to hear the stress each time you listen to English.

If you use word stress in your speech, you will instantly improve your pronunciation and listening comprehension.  These tables give you some general guidelines.

Two syllable words

NOUN Most two-syllable nouns have stress on the first syllable PRES-ent, EX-port, IM-port,

ES-cort, WAIT-er,

ADJ Most two-syllable adjectives have stress on the first syllable PRES-ent, GEN-tal, O-pen,

HAP-py

VERB Most two-syllable verbs have stress on last syllable pre-SENT, ex-PORT, im-PORT, es-CORT

Compound words (words with two parts)

NOUN For compound nouns, the stress is on the first part BLACK-board, BLUE-bird
ADJ For compound adjectives, the stress is on the second part bad-TEMP-ered, old-FASH-ioned,
un-IN-terest-ing
VERB For compound verbs, the stress is on the second part un-der-STAND, o-ver-FLOW,

Try it yourself!