Welcome to Daily Tips on Learning English. Today’s tip is on how syllable stress can affect the meaning of words.
Remenber that stressed syllables are said louder and are lengthened, and unstressed syllables are pronounced more softly, and often have the vowel sounds reduced.
Sometimes, this difference can be the difference between a verb and a noun, or an adjective.
There are at least 14 pairs of words in which syllable stress alone makes this difference. Some examples include `addict, a`ddict, `convict, con`vict, `perfect, per`fect. Each time the second syllable is stressed, the word is a verb. When the first syllable is stressed, the word is either a noun or an adjective. Let’s look some examples more closely. `Permit, per`mit, a `permit is a noun, it is a piece of paper which authorizes you to do something. For instance, a fishing `permit allows you to go fishing. Per`mit is a verb. It means to allow. For instence, fishing isn’t per`mitted here without a `permit.
Another example is `perfect, per`fect. `Perfect is an adjective. It means 100% correct, no mistakes or errors. The verb is per`fect, it means to make something perfect. For example, “I want to per`fect my English” means “I want to make my English perfect”. Make sure you stress the right syllable. It can be the differece between different parts of speech. This has been today’s daily tip. Till then, tomorrow, for another tip on learning English.