The stress in compound nouns can be on the first, middle or last syllable. So in this English accent training I’d like to go through some compound nouns and give you some pointers to help you tell which syllable is stressed.

Remember: When you stress a syllable you make the vowel slightly longer, slightly higher in pitch and slightly louder.

British, American and Australian Accent Training – Stress in Compound Nouns

How can I tell which syllable has the main stress?

1) Start attuning your ear to which syllable is slightly more emphasised.

2) Look it up in a dictionary. The main stressed syllable will have an apostrophe at the beginning. For example:


UK /əˌlɒŋˈsaɪd/ The last syllable is stressed.

 US  /əˈlɑːŋ.saɪd/  The middle syllable is stressed.

3) Try stressing the different syllables and see which way sounds right.

For example: In the word ‘also’, if I’m not sure then I would stress each syllable in turn like this- ‘al so- stressing the first syllable; al ‘so -stressing the 2nd syllable. Which sounds right to you?



Stress in Compound nouns

The stress patterns are the same for the British, American and Australian accents in the following words:

any ‘more   (‘more’ is the main stressed syllable)    They don’t want to come anymore.

‘ev ery body  (‘ev’ is the main stressed syllable)     She’s friends with everybody in the room.

Note: This word has a silent syllable as well. It’s said ‘evry’.

‘on line (‘on’ is the main stressed syllable)    They’re online at the moment.

‘time table (‘time’ is the main stressed syllable)   We’re finalising the timetable today.

‘chair man (‘chair’ is the main stressed syllable)  I’ll speak to the chairman.

Note: the ‘a’ in man becomes a schwa sound. /mən/

else ‘where (‘where’ is the main stressed syllable)   We’re not happy with this place, so we’re going to look elsewhere for a new car.

be ‘come (‘come’ is the main stressed syllable)  It’s become green!

a ’round (’round’ is the main stressed syllable) What’ve you put around the post?

Note: The ‘a’ is said as a a schwa vowel.


For more compound words have a look here. 

Don’t forget to click like below if you found this training helpful.

Best wishes, Esther


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