English Pronunciation and intonation – Sentence stress

English pronunciation of individual words can be difficult because of the seemingly ‘no rules’ issue with English spelling. But this blog is not about pronouncing individual words, but about how to use sentence stress so that you are clearly understood by the listener.

You can use intonation to exaggerate / highlight / stress a single word within a sentence, so that it becomes more important (than all the other words in that sentence).   Sentence stress with correct intonation is done by:

  1. Slowing your target word down (to be slower than all other words)
  2. Pausing before or after (or before AND after) your target word
  3. Using an exaggerated, sliding melody on your target word
  4. Saying the non-target words much more quickly (to show that they are not as important as the target word

  Here’s a video with 2 example sentences that are pronounced in different ways, so that the meaning of the sentence completely changes… just because of the use of different intonation, stressing different words every time.  

English Pronunciation & Intonation

   You may also like our other British Pronunciation blogposts…. 1. English Pronunciation Video about difficult English spelling 2. A list of our pronunciation blogs 3. A list of our free podcasts with native-speaker English teachers (mostly British accent) in real conversation….. other accents are Scottish, Irish, Australian etc) And the SGI Pronunciation course in our Central London school  

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