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Speak American English Rhythm

This is a short introduction to speaking with natural rhythm.
To learn more details, see Intonation (intonation means rhythm and stress).

1. Stress important information. That usually happens in this order:
  • nouns
  • verbs
  • adjectives and adverbs

Look at the sentences. The words in bold are the stressed words.

The store at the corner of Main St and 2nd Ave sells good tables. Their tables are made from quality wood. Many tables are crafted by local carpenters.

Notice: after the word "tables" becomes known information, the verbs are stressed and at last the adverb "many" is stressed. Once a noun is repeated or becomes a pronoun, other words gain stress.

Stress means changing your pitch or speaking a little louder or both.

2. Pause after the word you stress.

Let your listener fully hear what you just said. Silence is a powerful tool in speaking: use it.

3. Allow the smaller words to blend together naturally.

In order for the stressed words to stand out, the other words are NOT stressed. Let these words flow smoothly. This helps you to sound natural and relaxed. After all, you are stressing the important words, so your meaning will be understood.

Note: you can still blend the word before into the stressed word, i.e. you can say "local carpenters" without much break between "local" and "carpenter."


Get More Practice

learn intonation: details of rhythm and stress

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