Written June 12, 2009


Type 2: Adjective + Noun (never joined when written) STRESS ON THE SECOND WORD


The three times when you should do that are:

a) when you want to emphasize the adjective such as in, "It was an amazing experience!" or, "He did an excellent job!"  

b) when you are directly contrasting two adjectives ( = an explicit contrast), such as: "I've got an old computer but she's got a new one." (IELTS examiners will be looking to see if you know how to make this contrasting stress.)

c) when you are speaking an implicit contrast. When you speak an "implicit contrast" (暗示的对比, 含蓄的对比) you mean, "this adjective, not the opposite adjective", even though you do not explicitly (directly) say this opposite adjective. For example, perhaps two people are discussing a certain political 'problem' in the world and one is talking about military action. Then the second person says, "I'd prefer to find a peaceful solution to the problem." By putting stress on the word, "peaceful", the second speaker means, "not a military solution" but the second speaker did not directly say those words.

There are a few expressions or commonly used adjective + noun combinations that are (almost) always spoken with this implicit contrast stress.        

"The stress is on the second word, the noun.

When you listen to these examples, it might seem that sometimes the speaker says the adjective a little louder than the noun. But there is a 'falling tone' on the second word, the noun, that is spoken with an emphasis and clarity that show that the noun is the more important of the two words   the adjective describes that noun, i.e., gives more information about it but the noun is the key word. Listen to these two examples: "an old man" and an "old woman". The stress on the second word here is not as strong as and not the same as the stress on the first word for Type 1 compound nouns such as, "an apple tree" and "decision making".

Many of the examples shown here are common expressions that can be found in the dictionary. But the same stress pattern is used for any adjective + noun combination that you might form, such as, "a big dog", "a good student" and, "a pretty girl".


Lists of Examples (some with links to audio recordings)

(For recordings on the MacMillan Dictionary website, wait until the page is fully loaded before clicking on the red speaker logo, )

Type 2 Page 1  A to C

Type 2 Page 2  D to G

Type 2 Page 3  H to J

Type 2 Page 4  K to M

Type 2 Page 5  N to P

Type 2 Page 6  Q to S

Type 2 Page 7  T to V

Type 2 Page 8  W to Z