and Word Stress
A syllable is a unit of sound. It can be a vowel, a diphthong, or one
or more vowels combined with one or more consonants.
Single-syllable words can be formed using one letter or many letters.
In most English dictionaries, words that are more than one syllable are divided by
a dot or space between the syllables.
Click on the example words to hear the
difference between words with one, two, three, and four syllables.
In words that are polysyllabic (have more than one syllable), one syllable is
stressed. In most English dictionaries, the stressed syllable is
indicated by a stress mark, a symbol that resembles an apostrophe. The
stress mark follows the syllable that is stressed.
For example, in the
word incredible, the second syllable (-cred-) is stressed.
Note: In English, most two-syllable nouns are stressed on the first
Putting stress on the correct syllable is especially important for words that
are both nouns and verbs. If the
stress is placed on the first syllable it is a noun, if the stress is placed
on the second syllable it is a verb.
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Laura K. Lawless All rights reserved.
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