English words are made up of syllables or beats in a word.  Syllables always contain a vowel.  They usually have a consonant too.  Words may have 1, 2, 3, or more syllables.

One syllable words are pronounced with falling intonation and the stress on the one syllable.

In two or more syllable words, there is primary stress, secondary stress, and sometimes tertiary stress.

Stress is marked by making a syllable higher, longer (vowel), and louder than the others, in a word “stronger”.   Other syllables are pronounced faster and softer.  Sometimes, a syllable is so short that it is only an UH sound, the schwa.

Many of my clients improve their word stress by improving their pronunciation of vowels and listening skills. Some clients still need help. Here is a quick list of some word stress rules that usually work.

  1. Accents are typically on the first syllable.
  2. Accents are typically on the root word, the most important part of the word, not the prefix or suffix.
  3. In words of three or more syllables, the accent is typically on the 1st or 2nd syllable