Welcome to Daily Tips on Learning English.
Today’s tip is on word stress on sentences.
● In general, it is true that content words are stressed whereas function words are not stressed.
● Content words usually convey the meaning of the sentence.
● Function words make the sentence grammatically correct.re not stressed.
● Content words are: nouns, main verbs, adjectives, adverbs, this, that, these, those, and “wh-“ words, who, what, when, why, how, which.
● Function words are: articles, such as “a” and “the”;
● possessive adjectives, such as “his”, “my”, “your”;
● prepositions, such as “in”, “on”, “of”;
● conjunctions, such as “and”, “but”;
●personal pronouns, such as “ I”, “he”, “she”;
● the “be” verb, “am”, “is”, “are”, “was”, “were”;
● and auxiliaries, such as “do”, “does”, “did”.
● Take for example the sentence “Andrew brushes his teeth every morning.”
● The content word alone can convey the meaning of the sentence, namely “Andrew brushes teeth every morning.”
● The functional word “his” only makes the sentence grammatically correct.
● So “his” is unstressed, the other words are stressed.
●Why isn’t “his” stressed?
● Because of course he brushes his teeth, not your teeth, or my teeth. This we would naturally assume.
● If, however, Andrew brushes someone else’s teeth beside his own, then it would be very important to let your listener know that by stressing whose teeth he brushes.
● So, what words should be stressed?
● The simple answer is whatever words are important to the meaning you are trying to convey.
●if someone write the sentence on the board out of context and asks, “Which words are important? Which words should you stress?”
● You should answer, “That depends on the context.”
● Stress is used to let your listener know what is important to your message.
● If you stress words properly, your listener will have an easy time understanding your message.
● If you stress every word equally, then your listener will have to listen very carefully and try to guess the main point of your message.
● If your stress the wrong words, the listener will misunderstand your message or just feel very confused.
● So remember to stress the important words to your massege.
This has been today’s daily tip.
Tune in tomorrow for another tip on learning English.