Word Stress

Word Stress

Find the rules for Word Stress

These are much easier than you think.

Vibration or no vibration

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Voiced or unvoiced


Voice box

This is to help you to understand the different pronunciations of the -ed verb endings.

When we speak we make some sounds with vibration in our voice box (larynx) and some without vibration.

Phoneticians call this “voiced” and “unvoiced”.

Voice box

All vowels and most consonants are said with vibration in English.

Often the vibration is very small so you may not notice it.

A practical exercise:

To feel the difference, put your hand firmly on your voice box at the front of your throat and say:





Do you feel the vibration?





Do you feel the vibration?

——————– ——————–

The most common pronunciations of the -ed verb endings:

When the verb ends with no vibration, the sound ‘t is added.
When the verb ends with vibration, the sound ‘d is added

Don’t be influenced by the writing: you don’t usually add a syllable when you see -ed.

Here is a table of contrasted English consonant sounds written in phonemic symbols:.

no vibration p k f θ s ʃ ʧ ‘t
with vibration b g v ð z ʒ ʤ ‘d
θ as in thank
ð as in the
ʃ as in she
ʒ as in pleasure
ʧ as in catch
ʤ as in edge

But don’t try to memorise the table, just say “t or ‘d – whichever is easiest.

What about when the verb ends with a t or a d?

These are quite rare.

Well, you can try to say t’t or d’d but it’s not very easy and English speakers don’t attempt it.

They add in a very small unstressed sound: /i /or /ə/.

These are exceptions: the -ed is pronounced as an extra syllable.

In the exercises the ending after a t or a d is written id.

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