If you want to add more emphasis to an idea (or part of an idea) in your speech, you can do so with heavier stress. You can use emphatic stress for a variety of different reasons. Here are some examples:
- Agreeing with another person
SuJin: I think this guy should sue.
Rebecca: Yeah, he really should.
Mike: Isn’t this our stop?
Chloe: Yeah, it is.
Emelie: We have two midterms this Tuesday.
Jonas: Thursday, you said?
Moeka: I’m coming by on Friday.
Arnold: This Friday, or next Friday?
Moeka: This Friday.
Yesterday, I had the best bubble tea I’ve ever had.
I can’t believe they didn’t accept our proposal.
Dave wants the biggest, fastest car you have.
You can use highlighting stress to put special emphasis on a specific idea in your message. This is often the degree of an emotion you feel (1 & 2), or the importance of one of your points (3).
Look at these short dialogues. First, decide the purpose for using highlighting stress in the last line of dialogue. Then, decide which word(s) you think should receive the stress.
Anabel: Did you study for the test?
Clare: For this one, or Econ?
Anabel: This one.Click for the answerAnabel: Did you study for the test?
Clare: For this one, or for Econ?
Anabel: This one.
Mohamed: I can’t wait to have Tuesday off this week.
Raul: Wait, we have it off next week, right?Click for the answerMohamed: I can’t wait to have Tuesday off this week.
Raul: Wait, we have Tuesday off next week, right?
Tristan: I think we should address this part of the report next.
Kim: Definitely a good idea.Click for the answerTristan: I think we should address this part of the report next.
Kim: Definitely a good idea.
Megan: Did you seriously think that was the right answer?
Jeremy: Yes, I did.Click for the answerMegan: Did you seriously think that was the right answer?
Jeremy: Yes, I did.
Yukiko: We’re wasting time arguing about this.
Mark: Okay, you’re right.Click for the answerYukiko: We’re wasting time arguing about this.
Mark: Okay, you’re right.
What do you do now?
First, create sentences like those in our practice above. Then, brainstorm questions that would result in the highlighting of different words in each sentence.
Second, bring your sentences (and any other questions you have) to a speech consultant for more practice with highlighting stress.