How Syllable Stress Makes All The Difference To Your Meaning In English

Learn how syllable stress makes a difference to your meaning!

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Welcome to this video on how syllable stress makes all the difference to your meaning.

There are certain words that change from a verb to a noun depending on which syllable you stress.

When you stress a syllable, you lengthen the main stressed vowel, go up slightly in pitch, and say the vowel slightly louder.


Used as verb:

In these 2 syllable words, the 2nd syllable is stressed. 


He was subjected to great strain.



 I object to the building being closed.



 She went into the studio to record her next song.



Please present your credentials to the ambassador.


Used as noun:

Now we’ll use the same words, but stress the first syllable instead, so that the word becomes a noun and the meaning changes.


He chose an unusual subject to study at college.



 Can you place that strange object on the table, please?



 They kept records of all the floods in the area.



 I wanted to get you a present that would delight you on your birthday.


Pay attention to syllable stress in all words of 2 or more syllables in English, so that your speech is clear and automatic.

For specific training videos on how to hear which syllables are stressed in words, have a look in our British, Australian, and American pronunciation courses.

For more practise material on syllable stress, check out this audio lesson on accent-words with invisible syllables.

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