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Don't stress the stress

Updated: Mar 6, 2020

Some verbs can become nouns without even changing the spelling! The meaning changes from a verb to a noun by changing which syllable you stress.

These verb/noun partners don’t have their own special name but they are a type of heteronym. Heteronyms have the same spelling but different pronunciation and different meaning.

Occasionally, some of the pronunciations will vary from region to region.

Notice how the verb form stresses the second syllable and the noun form stresses the first syllable.

Here are some examples:

record [verb] Be sure to reCORD every sale.

[noun] We want a REcord of these transactions.

increase We want to inCREASE sales this quarter.

We are hoping for a 20% INcrease.

refund Will you please reFUND my money?

I want a REfund!

insert InSERT tab A into slot A.

The ad campaign called for an INsert in every paper.

conflict Oh, no! The time of my math class conFLICTS with the Latin class.

I was trying to avoid a CONflict.

insult Try not to inSULT your host family.

That last remark was an INsult.

rebel Some young people reBEL against their parents' values.

A REbel from his youth, Forin was now a great freedom fighter.

reject I decided to reJECT his offer.

Her hat looked like a REject from a thrift store.

compound Your crying will only comPOUND his anxiety.

The doctor placed the mysterious COMpound over the wound.

contract This exercise will cause your stomach muscles to conTRACT.

As soon as he signs the CONtract we'll start the work.

present Juan is going to preSENT the award.

Happy birthday! I have a PREsent for you.

survey Tomorrow they will surVEY the storm damage.

Let's conduct a SURvey of students for music interests.

escort The usher will esCORT you to your seat.

Sergei was to be her EScort for the evening.

addict Heroine can quickly adDICT a person.

Then the person becomes a heroine ADdict.

console We tried to conSOLE Oleg after Ana broke up with him.

The video games are in the TV CONsole.

implant Hammad will help imPLANT the fence posts.

I'll receive a dental IMplant on Tues.

object Your Honor, I obJECT!

Can you identify this OBject?

progress Tay was able to proGRESS quickly through her dance lessons.

She was pleased with her PROgress.

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