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Emphatic Stress in Sentences

  • Emphatic stress may be used in a sentence to compare, connect, or clarify things
  • Usually, emphatic stress singles out the word that the speaker considers the most important, and in this case, even a function word may become stressed
  • Emphatic stress is the placement of articulatory prominence or emphasis on a word in a sentence
  • In responding to questions on emphatic stress in examinations, interrogative sentences will be provided as options.
  • The interrogative sentence that contradicts the emphasized word is the correct option.
  • For example:
    • John built a HOUSE. – Possible interpretation: It is the house that John built, and not a hut
    • JOHN built a house. – Possible interpretation: It is John who built the house, not his friend, brother, or anybody else
    • John BUILT a house. – The emphatic stress is on ‘built’
    • John built A house – The emphatic stress is on ‘a’. John built just a house, not two or three.
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