Express Your Emotions Better With Emphatic Stress

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When you want to express your emotions in English you can use emphatic stress. We can add extra stress to any word in a sentence or question to focus attention somewhere. Emphatic stress or sentence stress is used to emphasize meaning in conversation. When we stress particular words it gives them a different meaning.

With short questions and responses I’m showing you how to emphasize the most important word and what your response reflects based on the previous utterance in the conversation.

Let’s go!


Emphasizing in a question:

Are you kidding me?

Surprised and maybe in a little disbelief.

For real?

As in “is this really happening?” or “are you telling the truth?”

You’re going where?

You’re really going to that place?

He said what?

You can’t believe what he said. 

Feeling okay? / Feeling okay?

Something they are doing or saying is making you wonder about this. Stressing both and connecting them or you can just emphasize the okay, depending on preference.

Emphasize the thing you’re surprised about but focusing on that word. This can be based on what has just been said by the other speaker but you can also emphasize when you want to hear something again or you’re making an exclamatory remark!


Emphasizing in a statement:

I’m fine.

Pointing out that this is how you feel, and if anyone has any doubts that’s on them.

It’s freezing!

Remarking on how cold temperatures

We’re famished!

Emphasizing being hungry 

Leave him be.

Emphasize the be, to be leave him as is don’t try to talk to him right now.

What amazing news!

Secondary stress on amazing but primary stress on news


So those are some examples of using emphasis to pronounce words when responding with a two-worded question, emphasizing with a question, and emphasizing in statements! Connected speech, standalone pronunciation, and pronunciation for emphasis all carry slightly different pronunciation. So, when you’re emphasizing, think about what is the most important point to get across as you speak the words.


Alright Advanced English learners, thanks for joining me in this lesson. The full transcript of this lesson can be found on our blog, so be sure to check out advanced english dot co forward slash blog. If you prefer to listen to this lesson, check out our podcast; it's available on our website. And if you love the podcast, be sure to leave us a nice review, that really helps us out! See you in the next one where we’ll continue advancing your English together! Until then, keep up the awesome work.