The Rhythm and Melody of English

/The Rhythm and Melody of English

The Rhythm and Melody of English

Here is a short exercise to help you with word stress and rhythm. 
First, here are some general rules:
  • Stress key words (content words), which are generally nouns and verbs.
  • In longer sentences, stress the last key word the most. 
  • Reduce prepositions, pronouns and articles (function words)
(There are other more specific rules and exceptions, but this can give you a general idea of how English word stress works.)
Now, let’s practice reading the below paragraph. The words in bold should be stressed. The underlined word gets the most stress.  Pause between the slash lines.
Practice exercise:
excerpt from speech by Steve Jobs, Stanford University, 2005 
You’ve got to find what you love.  And that is as true for work // as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill // a large part of your life, //and the only way //to be truly satisfied // is to do what you believeis great work. And the only way to do great work// is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking — and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart,// you’ll know when you find it. And like any great relationship,// it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking — don’t settle.
For additional rules and practice, you can purchase my DVDs, “American Accent Course – 50 Rules You Must Know.” 
By | 2015-11-28T05:23:40+00:00 June 7th, 2012|Uncategorized|2 Comments

About the Author:



  1. Hal Martin August 25, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Every language has its own rhythms and melodies. English (American English in my case) is no exception. I appreciate the post, especially the example. I think it's crucial to have engaging content for students to interact with. A Korean student of mine brought the famous Steve Jobs speech to my attention last term. Great work!

    — H A L ☮

  2. Anonymous August 26, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Please Lisa Mojsin i've been working on your mastering the american accent for a long time 2 years to exact. but in my company they say i am using fake american accent. Although i proved them that it isn't. but they still critizise me. Please Accent God help me on this matter.Thanking You YOU're HUGE FAAAAAAAAN!

Leave A Comment