Episode 3: Routines


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Word Stress

Phrasal Verbs

In each word, there is one syllable that we say louder, longer and with higher pitch than others. We say that syllable is stressed. If you don’t say the stress correctly, it can be hard for a fluent speaker of English to understand you.

For example, in the word, breakfast, we say BREAKfast.

In English, we use lots of phrasal verbs, like sleep in and get around, in common speech. A phrasal verb has two or three parts: a verb followed by one or two prepositions or adverbial particles.

The first part, the verb, is always stressed, but the second part is only stressed if it’s an adverbial particle; typically, we don’t stress prepositions because they are function words.


Adverbial Particles vs. Prepositions

The difference between a preposition and an adverbial particle depends on the context of the sentence. A preposition is followed by an object. The most common prepositions in phrasal verbs are with, from, for, about, at, to and of.

For example, in He ran to the park, the preposition to is followed by the park, so to is used to explain where the boy is going. So we only put the stress on the verb: He RAN to the park.

However, an adverbial particle does not have an object; its purpose is to describe the verb in terms of time, place or manner. The most common adverbial particles are across, over, under, along, away, behind, up, back, in(to), off, and on.

For example, in He ran away to the park, the word away explains how he ran or in which manner, so away is an adverbial particle. So we put the stress on the verb and particle: He RAN aWAY to the park.


Phrasal Verbs as Compound Nouns

Sometimes phrasal verbs can be used as compounds nouns. In this case, the stress moves to the verb. For example, in I take out books from the library, the verb and the adverbial particle are stressed: I TAKE OUT books from the library.

But if we use it as a compound noun, like in I got takeout for dinner, then the stress is on the first part: I got TAKEout for dinner.