Author: British Council | Uploaded on 1 July 2022

 

Word stress in English is not always on the first syllable, as it is in many languages. However, in general, nouns with two syllables are stressed on the first syllable. 

Here are some examples of patterns. The bold part is stressed:  

teacher

money

village

And in compound nouns:

bedroom 

football 

watermelon

blackboard

But here are some exceptions, e.g.:

computer

police

idea

Learners can improve their pronunciation by listening for word stress, and in some cases looking for patterns

Here are two more examples of patterns:

Words that are both verbs and nouns:

present (noun)

present (verb)

 

desert (noun)

desert (verb)

 

refuse (noun)

refuse (verb)

Glossary

Patterns: A specific way in which something is done or organized.

Stress: Emphasis given to certain syllables in words. In English, stress is produced with a longer, louder and higher pitched sound than unstressed sounds.

Syllable: A single unit of speech which contains a vowel sound (e.g. 'how' has one syllable; 'clever' has two syllables; 'photograph' has three syllables).