Why You Need to Use Syllable Stress Correctly
When you’re speaking American English it’s critical for you to use syllable stress correctly.
You absolutely must stress words on the correct syllable if you want Americans to understand you.
Why is syllable stress so important?
If you want Americans to
- understand your words the first time
- understand you without extra effort
You need to put emphasis on the correct syllable.
Two common examples
I’ll use two common examples to show you the importance of using the correct syllable stress.
Example #1 is address.
- When you place stress on the first syllable, address becomes a noun.
- Susan’s ADdress is 2010 Pine Street.
- When you place stress on the second syllable, address becomes a verb.
- Susan will adDRESS the board at tomorrow’s meeting.
Example #2 is present
When you stress the first syllable, the word PREsent means a gift (noun).
When you stress the second syllable preSENT means ‘to give’ (verb).
Stressed vowel sounds
What do I mean by syllable stress?
- The vowel sounds in stressed syllables get extra attention.
- Vowel sounds in stressed syllables are lengthened.
- The vowel sounds in stressed syllables are pronounced with a slightly higher pitch.
If you’re not stressing words on the correct syllable when you speak, you’re making it difficult for Americans to understand you.
I teach you the rules
I teach you the rules for using syllable stress correctly in my American Accent Master Class.
Go to Lesson 1.7 to learn 10 syllable stress rules for clear communication.
Stop making mistakes when you speak American English!
Follow the link above to take this valuable trial lesson for free today.
About the author
Susan Ryan is an American English communication and accent reduction coach.
Contact her with your questions about clear American speech.