Lists of Word Combinations
Long lists of examples of the different 'types' of two-word combinations are shown here. The purpose of these lists is to familiarize you with the different stress patterns that are used when speaking different combinations of two-word nouns and adjective + noun.
These ideas were mentioned on the page, "Answers to Diagnostic Test 1." If you have not done the self-test on sentence stress or have not read the explanations on that page then you might not fully understand what these lists represent and how to speak them.
It is not vital for you to do the diagnostic test before looking at these lists. But I think it is a good idea to do so because many people have a false sense of confidence that they already know how to pronounce these different word combinations. If you first do the test and see how many items you get wrong, you will then be more interested and more motivated to study these lists.
As a second-best option, you could do the test after studying these lists, to see how much you really learned from the lists.
The idea is that you practice
lists aloud. By doing that, you will become familiar with some of the
typical "sets" of word combinations and later, when you come across new
examples that fit into these or similar sets, you will be more likely to
guess the correct placement of the stress. It is not necessary to spend a
lot of time actually memorizing the contents of these lists.
that, for the average IELTS test taker in China, who is about a Band 5,
spending a lot of time reading these lists is
the most productive use of your time. Your time is best spent
improving your grammar in a speaking context. For example, you should be
spending a lot of time using a self-study speaking book and CD combination
such as 'Side by Side'. Nevertheless, it is useful for the average test
taker to at least be familiar with the concepts that lie behind these lists
and to spend a small number of hours reading some of these
sets of word combinations aloud.
For those of you who are already
quite good at spoken English (i.e., a strong Band 6 or Band 7), practicing
reading these lists is one way to help improve your spoken English to a Band
8 level. But even for you, these lists are focusing on only one small part
of pronunciation and only one way to improve your pronunciation enough to
get an 8 for pronunciation. These lists would be most useful for people who
use English every day in their job, especially professional language experts
such as TV & radio newsreaders, tour guides and simultaneous translators.
For you, making improvements to your spoken English is not so easy because
you are not sure what to focus on. Most of you could benefit a lot by
spending time reading these lists aloud.
The examples in
the lists are
not 100% complete – I have listed the most common examples here and sometimes there
are many more possible examples but these are usually very specialized
language that is rarely used. At other times, you could guess more examples
yourself. For example, for TYPE 1, under 'TEACHER', I have listed 13
examples, starting with 'a Chinese teacher', 'a dance
teacher', 'a dancing teacher' and 'a history teacher'. It was
not necessary to list every possible kind of teacher.
These are not meant to be IELTS vocabulary lists. Although it is true that you will improve your vocabulary by reading these lists and looking up a few words that are new to you, some of these word combinations would be rarely used in the IELTS test. Understand that the main purpose of these lists is to help you get used to the 'rules' of stress placement in word combinations and to familiarize you with common 'sets' of combinations. There are better word lists than the ones here that you could use as IELTS vocabulary lists.
The word that is in bold, heavy print is
stressed more than the other word. Sometimes the bold word is also
italicized, just to show the stressed word even more clearly than by
only using bold font. I have done this for the Type 3 examples, such as
Sometimes the bold word is also italicized, just to show the stressed word even more clearly than by only using bold font. I have done this for the Type 3 examples, such as grandmother.
All of the lists will be added to and improved over time. I probably won't announce on the "Site Changes" page when this is done unless they are major changes.
Click on a link below to see the lists. (Some lists include links to voice recordings).
If there is no blue link, that means the page has not yet been uploaded to the internet.
Summary of All Lists: This summary contains a few examples of voice recordings of the different types of stress pattern. Click on an example to hear the recording. The best idea is to mimic the recordings.
Type 1: Typical compound Nouns – STRESS ON FIRST WORD
Type 2: Adjective + Noun (not joined) – STRESS ON SECOND WORD
Type 3: Adjective + Noun (always joined when written) – STRESS ON FIRST WORD
Type 4: Special Compound Nouns: Noun + Noun – STRESS ON SECOND WORD
Type 5: Names: “The X Y”, Stress on X
Type 6: Names: “The X Y”, Stress on Y
Type 7: Names of People and Roads (including Avenues and Lanes): “ X Y”, Stress on Y
Type 8: Names of Streets: “ X Street”, Stress on X
Type 9: Adjective (implied contrast) + Noun – STRESS ON FIRST WORD
Type 10: Examples of Compound Adjectives – STRESS ON SECOND WORD
Many people make mistakes when they speak two-word combinations where the first word ends with "ing". On a separate page, you will be able to learn the basic rules for this pronunciation and you will be able to mimic many recordings.