Verb / Noun Stress Shift

Listen to the following conversation, how does the word ‘subject’ change?

A. “I’m fascinated by the subject of this painting.”

B. “I can’t believe how you can subject the viewer to this, to be honest.”

‘subject’ is a noun in the first sentence with stress on the first syllable.
‘subject’ is a verb in the second sentence with stress on the second syllable.

Why does the stress change in the same word?

  • Some words can be a noun or a verb without changing their spelling.
  • Many of these words experience stress shift – their stress changes.
  • When they are nouns, the first syllable is stressed.
  • When they are verbs, the second is stressed.

DRILL

Repeat the words, firstly as nouns then as verbs.

 insult    present     exploit     attribute

EXERCISE

Choose one of the words from the DRILL for each pair of sentences below:

A.
The success of the rescue operation was ________ to his quick thinking.
Let’s not beat around the bush. Martin doesn’t have one redeeming ________.

B.
You can read all about her ________ in tomorrow’s paper.
You ________ my good will in more ways than one.

C.
Brian was fuming. Sharon always thought of the best ________.
Don’t ________ my intelligence. I know exactly what you did.

D.
May I ________ the latest prototype for our invention?
How many christmas ________ do you need to buy?

A. attributed/ attribute B. exploits/ exploit C. insult/ insult D. present/presents

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