What is contrastive stress? How can you use stress to make tag questions easier and how can using stress for emphasis make your spoken English a lot more effective and communicative?
All these questions, and more, will be answered in this podcast with our special guest, Clare.
Clare is the host of The Smart English Coach podcast at: https://smartenglishcoach.com/
She also has a very useful website at https://english-at-home.com/ where you’ll find a lot of information, articles, exercises and material to improve your English.
In Estuary English from the southeast of England and the Thames estuary area, it’s common to not sound the ‘t’ at the end of words. This language feature is called the glottal stop.
Italian speakers may stress some words incorrectly. For example, they may say ‘manAGEment’ instead of placing the stress correctly on the first syllable, ‘MANagement’.
Native English speakers tend not to stress grammar words that don’t carry meaning. For example, “in a QUARTER of an HOUR”.
Italian (and Spanish) native speakers may give equal stress to each word. This shouldn’t affect communication but it does sound unnatural.
We’re going to talk about three ways of using stress in pronunciation today and how using stress can make your English more effective and help you to communicate better.
- Contrastive stress
- Stress in tag questions
- Stress for emphasis
what is it and why do we use it in English?
It’s when you stress a word that you wouldn’t normally stress because you want to show contrasting information.
For example, “You go LEFT.” – No, you DON’T. You go RIGHT.”
“But I CAN read a map!”
The scene from the film Taxi Driver with Robert De Niro: “Are you talking to ME?”
2.Stress in tag questions
For example, “We’ve met before, haven’t we?” – “Yes we have.”
“Pass me the map, will you?”
“It’s a lovely day, isn’t it?”
“You live in my building, don’t you?”
More information on the grammar of tag questions: https://www.inglespodcast.com/20
Using emphatic stress helps you to change focus and sound more interesting and interested.
3.Stress for emphasis
We can use stress to clarify information.
For example, “I don’t want THIS one, I want THAT one.”
We also use it to be emphatic: “I REALLY, REALLY need a holiday.”
“I DESPERATELY need a holiday.”
“I HATE flying. I ABSOLUTELY HATE it.”
Think of stress as your extra chocolate.
Incorrect stress can cause confusion
I like WASHING machines (they save a lot of time) / I like washing MACHINES (I like machines to be clean)
I’m an English TEACHER (I’m not an English student) – I’m an ENGLISH teacher (I’m not an Italian teacher)
For more information about Clare’s course called Advanced English Pronunciation In 30 Days
go to: https://smartenglishcoach.com/pronunciation/ where you’ll see a special price.
For Clare’s website, go to https://english-at-home.com/ where you’ll also find her excellent podcast.
Clare invited me onto her podcast as a guest to talk about English exams and why they are useful. You can listen to that episode here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1969828/11851205
…and now it’s your turn to practise your English.
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This podcast is sponsored, in part, by mansionIngles.com. Visit the online store: https://store.mansioningles.net/
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In next week’s episode: Reza is back and we’ll be talking about overcoming your shyness and hesitation when speaking English
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The music in this podcast is by Pitx. The track is called ‘See You Later’