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.
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.”