Stress in compounds

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Feb 19, 2007
Member Type
Student or Learner
Hi there.
I'd like to know what's the rule for putting stress on the first/second syllable in the words like: open-minded, big-headed, easy-going, etc..
If I remember correct, there is something about whether the compound is followed by a noun, or not. But I can't remember exactly what the rule says. :-( Give me a hint please. ;-)
Kind regards,
Seba :cool:


Mar 10, 2007
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
Home Country
Current Location
The following might help. Remember these are generalizations only. There’ll always be exceptions.

1. Stress the 1st word if the word is made up of 2 individual (compound) words.

E.g. 0airport, 0freeway

2. Stress the preposition if the word is a 2-word phrasal verb.

E.g. go 0away, get 0up

3. Stress the 1st syllable of a 2-word noun.

E.g. 0Bedroom, 0stoplight, 0teapot, 0windscreen, 0chairman

4. Stress the 2nd word in a 2-word (compound) verb.

E.g. out0smart, out0do

5. Stress the 1st or 2nd syllable or word if the word is a 3-syllable or 3-word words.

E.g. 0newspaper, 0grandmother

6. Stress the 2nd syllable of a 3-word verb.

E.g. get 0out of, keep 0up with

7. Stress the noun in an adjective-noun phrase.

E.g. black 0board, green 0house

8. Stress the adjective in an adjective-noun compound word.

E.g. 0blackboard, 0greenhouse
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