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  1. #1
    kobeobie is offline Newbie
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    Default Word stress in a sentence

    Can someone please help me identify which word or words are stressed in the following sentences:

    Sue had her hair cut last week.

    He'd left by the time we arrived.

    got away with

    Thanks I appreciate any help.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Word stress in a sentence

    It depends on the meaning. What's important in the first- the person, the action or the time?

  3. #3
    kobeobie is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Word stress in a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It depends on the meaning. What's important in the first- the person, the action or the time?
    I wasn't told what information was important.

    I don't have an ear for music.I've been repeating these sentences over and over and I can not here any stress at all.

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is online now Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Word stress in a sentence

    Tdol's point is that the stress can go in at least* six places:
    • Sue had her hair cut last week [but Carol didn't].
    • Sue had her hair cut last week [not her fingernails].
    • Sue had her hair cut last week [pointing at someone else, maybe Sue's daughter].
    • Sue had her hair cut last week [not dyed].
    • Sue had her hair cut last week [not the week before].
    • Sue had her hair cut last week [not last month].


    It sounds as though the person who gave you this task had the mistaken belief that there was only one answer. Or perhaps their plan was to get different answers from various students and point out that they're all right in the right context.

    b

    PS *I say 'at least' because I imagine it might be possible to devise a context that would justify stress on the word 'had' - maybe to emphasize that she really did it, rather than just thinking about it, or doing it herself...
    Last edited by BobK; 16-Sep-2012 at 10:42. Reason: fix format

  5. #5
    kobeobie is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Word stress in a sentence

    I've read in a few websites and books that the key words in a sentence usually get greater emphasis,for example:

    Where were you at six o'clock?
    I was at home.I went to the club at seven o'clock.

    This is the house that Jack built
    This is the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
    This is the rat that ate the malt
    That lay in the house that Jack built.

    (these are examples taken from a book)

    I can't seem to hear word stress but If I had to guess then I would say that the following words with important information are stressed:

    Sue had her hair cut

    He'd left by the time we arrived

    got away with

    If I were you,I'd go to Japan

  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is online now Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Word stress in a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by kobeobie View Post
    I've read in a few websites and books that the key words in a sentence usually get greater emphasis,for example:

    Where were you at six o'clock?
    I was at home.I went to the club at seven o'clock.

    This is the house that Jack built
    This is the malt that lay in the house that Jack built
    This is the rat that ate the malt
    That lay in the house that Jack built.

    (these are examples taken from a book)
    I was talking about contrastive stress. Even without contrastive stress, words are stressed. And the the two sort of stress interact in subtle ways that I don't think have been described in a students' book (and I don't want to try). And different speakers differ. In the case of that nursery rhyme I'd stress only the verbs (especially towards the end - and not the last verb):

    This is the cow with the crumpled horn
    That tossed the maiden all forlorn
    That chased the dog
    That worried the cat
    That killed the rat
    That ate the malt
    That lay in the house
    That Jack built.
    Quote Originally Posted by kobeobie View Post
    I can't seem to hear word stress but If I had to guess then I would say that the following words with important information are stressed:

    Sue had her hair cut Maybe not 'had', but the rest is right.

    He'd left by the time we arrived You're tending to over-emphasize a bit. I'd stress just 'left', 'time' and 'arrived' - and in polysyllables like that, only on one syllable: 'arrived'

    got away with (but only on the second syllable)

    If I were you,I'd go to Japan Again, you're a bit profligate. If everything's stressed, nothing is. I'd stress only 'I', 'you' 'go' and '...pan'
    But as I've said, I'm just assigning word stress, and not contrastive stress

    b
    Last edited by 5jj; 17-Sep-2012 at 11:03. Reason: missing 'f' in 'If'.

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