Home / English Lessons / Stress and Rhythm in English | A Quick Overview | English Pronunciation Lesson

Stress and Rhythm in English | A Quick Overview | English Pronunciation Lesson

Listen to the audio!:

A Quick Overview of Stress and Rhythm in English

To create the music and rhythm of English, native English speakers stress (they say longer, louder and higher in pitch) the words in their sentences that carry meaning.

Stressed content words:

    1. Nouns (“dog”)
    2. Main Verbs (“walk”)
    3. Adjectives (“beautiful”)
    4. Adverbs (“quickly”)
    5. Interjections (“wow!”)
    6. Negatives (“not”)
    7. Wh-words (“what”)

English speakers also de-stress (meaning they say quicker, shorter, more relaxed) words that only function to hold the structure and grammar of the sentence together.

De-stressed function words:

    1. Articles (“the“, “a“)
    2. Auxiliary verbs (“has, “can)
    3. Pronouns (“he”, “her”)
    4. Prepositions (“of”, “to”)
    5. Conjunctions (“and”, “but”)

*This stressing + de-stressing creates the music and rhythm of English.*

So, in English, syllables and words are not said with equal length and strength, but they vary.

  • Some syllables and words are longer and louder.
  • Some are really short; and
  • Some right in the middle.


  • “The dogs are on the bed.”

Stressed content words = “dogs” + “bed” (nouns)

Listen again

  • “The dogs are on the bed.”

De-stressed function words (said quickly) = “the” + “are” + “on” + “the” (article, auxiliary verb, preposition, article)

  • “The dogs are on the bed.”


This was just a quick overview of stress and rhythm in English. Feel free to check out the more detailed lesson and video on stress and rhythm on ElementalEnglish.com.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Elemental English podcast on iTunes.

And if this lesson was helpful to you, feel free to share it with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter

HydroPRO dock icon from http://mediadesign.deviantart.com

ElementalEnglish.com is your resource for free English language and pronunciation lessons, 無料オンライン英語教材, 免费在线英文课程, 免費在線英文課程, मुफ़्त ऑनलाइन अंग्रेज़ी, آنلائن مفت میں انگریزی سیکھئے, Kostenloser Englisch-Unterricht Online, 무료 온라인 수업 잉글, Język angielski online, Học tiếng anh miễn phí, Libreng Pag-aaral ng Wikang Ingles sa Internet, Libreng Pag-aaral ng Wikang Ingles Online, دروس في اللغة الانجليزية على الانترنت مجانا, درس انگلیسی رایگان در اینترنت, American English pronunciation, アメリカ英語の発音, 纯正美语发音, 純正美語發音, अमरीकी अंग्रेज़ी, امریکی انگریزی کا تلفّظ سیکھئے, Amerikanisches Englisch Aussprache, wymowa język angielski, Học tiếng anh miễn phí, Wastong Pagbigkas ng American English sa Internet, astong Pagbigkas ng, تعلم اللهجة الامريكية على الانترنت, American English Online, كلمات انجليزية أمريكية Leçons de Prononciation Anglaise, درس تلفظ انگلیسی
영어 발음 수업 – 온라인 영어 수업

One comment

  1. Madam I saw your videos I hope I can learnss a good english so please guide me by email

Leave a Reply

WordPress spam blocked by CleanTalk.