Thursday, June 18, 2015

How about a refreshing DESSERT in the DESERT? 10 more words that CHANGE according to STRESS

Here are 10 more examples words that change meaning or part of speech depending on word stress.  This is an extension of a previous blog posts that can be found here and here.

As already stated in both of my previous posts, it is crucial to know where to place the appropriate stress or intonation of many words in English, as the meaning of a word or its part of speech can change.

Pay close attention to which syllables (the first or second) carry the stress and what part of speech each word is (verb or noun).  Do you notice any pattern in these two syllable words?  Well, as you can see in these examples, if the stress is on the first syllable, it is a noun, and if the stress is on the second syllable, it is a verb.

Remember that when speaking English, stress is a crucial element in pronunciation, so always pay close attention to which syllable carries the stress and say it accordingly.  ESL Readers: Say it out loud!

1.  ALLY (noun): Ex. The Americans and United Kingdom were allies in World War II. 
ALLY (verb): Ex. It is crucial to ally with partners who have something to gain from our partnership. 

2.  COMBAT (noun): Ex. It is imperative that during combat, soldiers have a high level of trust among their fellow men and women.  
COMBAT (verb): Ex. In order to combat the spread of malaria, the regular use of nets is a necessity. 

3.  CONFINE (noun): Ex. Within the confines of the school, children are not allowed to use the Internet on their hand held devices.  
CONFINE (verb): Ex. By having a small area of space to play, the school essesentially confines children. 

4.  CONVICT (noun): Ex. The convict sat in prison for 20 years.  
CONVICT (verb): Ex. The court convicted the criminal for robbing a bank. 

This one is fun because the words completely change meaning!   

5.  DESERT (noun): Ex. The desert was dry and arid, but the sky was clear with a beautiful view of the pyramids.  
DESSERT (noun): Ex. The dessert was a white chocolate rasberry cake wtih hints of basil.  

6.  EXCUSE (noun): Ex. I don't want to hear any excuses from you anymore!  You must be on time, and that's the end of it!  EXCUSE (verb):  Please excuse my tardiness... but understand that my car broke down, and I had no control over the situation. 

*Pronunciation Note: With the noun, the 's' is pronounced as an 's,' (voiceless) but with the verb, the 's' is pronounced as a 'z.' (voiced)

7.  REBEL (noun): Ex. The rebels still have a stronghold on the capital city.  
REBEL (verb): Ex. All teenagers love to rebel!

8.  REFILL (noun): Ex. Only in America can I ask for another refill of Fanta. 
REFILL (verb): Ex. The huge ditch that the construction company had to be refilled with dirt. 

And again here, we can see that the stress changes the meaning of the word completely!  (As a noun, it means a topic or subject in school (History, Math, etc.).  As a verb it means to cause expose somebody to something negative.  Here's the full definition.

9.  SUBJECT (noun): Ex. My favorite subject is English, of course.  
SUBJECT (verb): Why must you repeatedly subject me to these meetings that last an hour and a half past 5:00 pm?

Here we have a word that is a noun, verb AND an adjective:

10.  UPSET (adjective/verb): Ex. I was upset after I found out the score of the soccer game. / Please don't upset me anymore with bad news!  UPSET (noun): Ex. Did you hear about the upset between Portugal and the United States?...The US won the soccer game!  

That's all!  If you like my blog, please share it with your friends :)


No comments:

Post a Comment

Featured Post

When do I use HAVE and HAS?

"Have" and "has" are both present tense conjugations of the verb "to have," and we use "have" or &q...