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How to assign sentence stress    

Distinguish between:
  • LEXICAL WORDS (content words, open-class items):
    nouns, adjectives, adverbs, lexical verbs
  • STRUCTURAL WORDS (functional words, closed-class items):
    prepositions, pronouns, auxiliary verbs
  • Sentence-stress is assigned as follows:
  • Sentence stress falls on the STRESSED SYLLABLES of all lexical words:
    'sort, ob'jection, re'ceive, Mc'Cartney
  • Stuctural words may carry sentence-stress if emphasised in some way:
    When cited: How do you spell "than"?
    Comparative emphasis: "I don't think I can /kn/ do it"-"But I think you can /'kæn/ do it"
  • Polysyllabic structural words may carry sentence-stress:
    un'til, be'hind
  • Adverbs are usually stressed, even if they are technically structural words:
    She 'jumped 'off the 'table
    It's 'too 'late to 'change our 'minds
  • Adverbs of position carry sentence stress:
    I'm 'not 'coming 'here a'gain
    I 'left it 'over 'there
  • Demonstratives are stressed:
    'This 'book is 'really 'worth 'reading
    'That's the 'stupidest i'dea I ve 'ever 'heard
  • Negatives are stressed:
    I'm 'not 'coming 'here a'gain
    We 'can t ex'pect 'everything
    I 'hope you 'won t be an'noyed

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