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Stressed syllables in English pronunciation

Some people might have heard before that English is a stressed language. What this means is that some syllables are pronounced more “decisively” while the pronunciation of other syllables might seem to “lack conviction.” We call this emphasis on the pronunciation of a syllable “stress.”

While the application of stress on certain syllables may vary from one regional dialect to another, some constants come back with regularity.

For example, when pronouncing the word “present.”

The stress will vary in function of the use of the word.

Witness those different applications:

“Every member of my team was PREsent for the practice.” The stress is on the first syllable of the word.

“I will preSENT my thesis to a comity.” The stress is on the second syllable of the word.

Noticing the stress is not an easy task for someone whose English is not the first language, but paying attention when listening to speech produced in English might make stressed syllables more noticeable.

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