Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pronunciation: contrastive stress

(A2), B1, B2, (C1)

In spoken English, we often put an extra accent or stress on the most important word in a sentence. Look at this sentence: "He offered me thirteen percent but I wanted fourteen."
Here we are contrasting the incorrect word, "thirteen", with the correct one, "fourteen" Note that we sometimes also need to know which part of the word to stress ("fourteen", not "fourteen")
You are going to watch a short video where you will hear and practise some more examples of contrastive stress. Then you will do a short exercise to identify the most important words in a conversation. Video time: 1 min 55 secs. Activity time: 10 - 30 minutes.
Task: 1  Watch the video and follow the instructions. 

2  Here is a conversation between two people on the last day of a conference. In each sentence spoken by B, identify the word or part of the word which has the most stress.The first one is done for you as an example.

A: Did you go to the conference today? 
B: Not the morning session. But I went this afternoon.
A: Did you go to all three talks? 
B: No, I only went to one of them.
A  Were the other two full, then? 
B: No, in fact the rooms looked quite empty. But I only wanted to see one talk.
A: The one on time management? 
B: That one didn't interest me. It's the stress management one I wanted to see. 
A: Ah yes, Alice went to that one 
B:  I didn't think it was very good. How did she find it?
A: Well, she thought it was interesting. 
B: Maybe, but it wasn't very original.
A: So who's going to the final party tonight? 
B: I'm not, because I've got a plane to catch. Are you going? 

Go to the video here
Check your answers to Ex. 2 here.


  1. Thanks for sharing this nice post. There are many people who suffer from English pronunciation.There are different ways through which they can Improve English pronunciation . It is very important to choose the correct type of method.

  2. This is very nice method to learn and I like to share it with others who like to improve their English skill.

  3. Thank you so much. It is very useful for preparing test for me.

  4. not helpful at all l cant get the answers for ex.2

  5. not helpful at all l cant get the answers for ex.2

  6. So these have even brought around more of the interest among the students and favorably for the future would even help them to ease up their career.