Learn English 100% free...Get 1 free lesson per week // Add a new lesson
Log in!

Click here to log in
New account
Millions of accounts created on our sites.
JOIN our free club and learn English now!

  • Home
  • Print
  • Guestbook
  • Report a bug

  • Get a free English lesson every week!
    Click here!

    - Our other sites

    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #76222: Main stress
    > Other English exercises on the same topic: Pronunciation [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Pronunciation of final S - The sound [u:] - Onomatopoeia - Spelling: J, G, GE or DGE? - CH phonemes - CH phonemes - CH phonemes - CH phonemes
    > Double-click on words you don't understand

    Main stress



          It is very important to know if a syllable is stressed (or not)


                                                                           For example
                words  pronunciation SyllablesStressed syllable
    PHO TO GRAPH                   3   1st
    PHO TO GRAPH ER                   4   2nd
    PHO TO GRAPH IC                   4   3rd
    PHO TO GRAPH I CALLY                   5    3rd

    In your dictionary, there are special symbols.
    ˈ shows where the stress is
    PHO TO GRAPH  / ˈfəʊ tə grɑ:f /
    PHO TO GRAPH ER /  ˈtɒ grəf əɼ /
    PHO TO GRAPH IC / fəʊ tə ˈgræf ɪk /
    PHO TO GRAPH I CALLY  / fəʊ.tə ˈgræf.ɪ.kli /


                                                      If you put the stress on another syllable, it can change the meaning of the word.
    DESSERT  / dɪˈzɜːt /   
    DESERT    / ˈde.zət /                   
    (to) RECORD  / rɪ ˈkɔːd /                     
    (a)  RECORD  / ˈrek ɔːd /                     


     How to pronounce a word: for example = BLACKBIRD 

     B L A C K           


    higher pitch


                          There are rules, but the best way is to learn the pronunciation when you learn the word.

                                                                              A few rules... and exceptions!


                                                           Words with 2 syllables
    nounStress on the 1st syllable TAble  CHIna
    adjectiveStress on the 1st syllableCLEver  HAPpy
    verbStress on the 2nd syllableenjoy,   complain
                                                 in general but there are exceptions:
                                 a lot of verbs ending in-ow, -en, -y, -er, -le, -ish have the stress on the 1st syllable:
                                follow,            open,          carry,                  offer,            sparkle,                 finish

                                                      Listenadjectives  nouns verbs

    final present lovely slender

    increase incline
    protest suspect




    progress protest suspect transport


                                                                          Compound words
    nounsStress on the 1st partgreenhouse, steamboat, snowball, rainbow
    adjectivesStress on the 2nd partred-haired, bad-tempered, old-fashioned
    verbsStress on the 2nd partoverflow, understand, behave, forgive



    Stress on the last syllable     


    Stress on the syllable before the suffix

     JapaNESE    mountaiNEER explaNAtion    fanTAStic



    Stress on the 2nd syllable before the suffix:


    aPOlogise   cerTIficate

     therMOmeter    biOgraphy






    If you perfect your intonation your accent will be perfect.




    The text is below. Listen carefully and find the stressed syllable.



    Twitter Share
    English exercise "Main stress" created by lili73 with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from lili73]
    Click here to see the current stats of this English test

    Please log in to save your progress.

     My name's Alix and if you want to learn about and improve your English pronunciation
     you've come to the right place.
     There are videos, quizzes, activities and downloads  to help you practice your English.
     Now good pronunciation is very important for good spoken communication .
     But what do we mean by good pronunciation?
     Well, you don't have to speak English like a native speaker.
     It's fine to have a different accent, but what is important is that you are able to speak clearly
     and that you don't prevent other people from understanding what you are trying to say.
     There are many different English accents in Britain and all around the world. These are all good models

    . Now, my accent is standard Southern British English and that's what I'll be showing you on this site.  Have fun!


                countries where English is the first and often only language of most people
    countries where besides English as a native language there is at least one other significant native tongue
           countries where English is not native, only official language



    End of the free exercise to learn English: Main stress
    A free English exercise to learn English.
    Other English exercises on the same topic : Pronunciation | All our lessons and exercises