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When I was studying for my CELPIP exam I got material from them. Unfortunately, I can not put the PDF to the public because it has a watermark with my personal email. But I can put you here what it says.

CELPIP's twentieth-eighth error as they state:

Stress is the emphasis placed on certain syllables within words. Stressed syllables are longer, clearer, and higher in pitch than unstressed syllables. For example, with the two-syllable word little, the stress is on the first syllable, i.e., li-ttle. Changing the stress in a word can change its meaning, as demonstrated here with console: console = the front panel of a car; console = the comfort someone.

Rhythm is the pattern of stress that .occurs during spoken discourse. In English, the rhythm alternates fairly regular between stressed and unstressed syllables and words within each information unit (a spoken phrase that contains a single though).

When speaking, we use stress to show which words are .most important. As a result, we tend to stress "content words" such as nouns, verbs, and their modifiers. Although most content words are stressed within information units, one word is stressed the most. This word gets primary stress because it is the most important. If stress, especially primary stress, is placed on the wrong word, your listener may become confused and misinterpret what you are saying. Here are some generalizations to consider:

  • We usually give primary stress to the last content word in the information unit.
    in the MORning / I have a cup of COFfee / while I watch the NEWS.
  • Old information (repeated) almost never gets primary stress.
    Q: Who is the CoORdinator / of your dePARTment?
    A: MARcy is the coordinator.

/ = pause, bold = stress; bold+CAPS = primary stress


The first, not the last word in multi-word nouns usually gets the stress.

  • We tend to stress content WORDS.
  • We tend to stress CONtend words.
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