Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Episode 18 – Pronunciation Skill – Sentence Stress

We can divide words into two types.  Content words carry more meaning.

We say them with more stress.  Function words carry less meaning.  Example:

He doesn’t like to eat spicy or oily food in the morning.

Content words (stressed)

question words: what, where

nouns: fruit, dinner

most verbs: eat, like

adjectives: creamy, spicy

adverbs: fast, quickly

negative auxiliary verbs: don’t, isn’t


function words (unstressed) 

article: a, the

pronouns: she, her

prepositions: at, in

conjunctions: and, or

the verb be: is, are

positive auxiliary verbs: does, do


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