A common issue I help my clients with regardless of their native language, is how to pronounce words that are spelled the same but have multiple meanings. The English language is full of these tricky words, called heteronyms, that have different stress patterns for different language usage, especially between nouns and verbs.
Here are three examples of heteronyms:
- Noun: a compilation or summary of information.
- Verb: break down of nutrients that can be absorbed and used by the body.
- Noun: agricultural fruits and vegetables.
- Verb: to compose, to create.
- Noun: a gift.
- Verb: to offer for observation.
Rule for two syllable heteronyms: Stress the first syllable for nouns and the second syllable for verbs.
- Noun: DIgest – Here is a DIgest of last year’s meeting.
- Verb: diGEST – It is going to take some time to diGEST that delicious dinner.
- Noun: PROduce – The farmer’s market has a variety of local PROduce today.
- Verb: proDUCE – This company is going to proDUCE mobile phones for export.
- Noun: PREsent – I have a PREsent for the birthday party.
- Verb: preSENT – I will preSENT the new business strategy at the next board meeting.