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Sentence Stress Quiz

You can do this quiz online or print it on paper. It tests your understanding of sentence stress rules of English pronunciation. In some questions, stressed words are in capital letters, as in "WHY is this QUIZ so EASY?"

1. Which words in a sentence are usually stressed?

content words
structure words
a) content words b) structure words

2. Which words carry little meaning but make a sentence grammatically correct?

content words
structure words
a) content words b) structure words

3. When speaking English, we try to create a rhythm in which the time between stressed words is

the same
different
a) the same b) different

4. Which is a list of content words?

they, should've, through
Donald's, eyes, small
a) everyone, should've, through b) Donald's, eyes, small

5. Which are NOT usually stressed?

prepositions, articles, pronouns, conjunctions
nouns, main verbs, adjectives, adverbs
a) prepositions, articles, pronouns, conjunctions b) nouns, main verbs, adjectives, adverbs

6. Which is the normal neutral stress pattern?

If you CAN, CALL me in the MORNING.
If you can, call ME in the MORNING.
a) If you CAN, CALL me in the MORNING. b) If you can, call ME in the MORNING.

7. Which is the normal neutral stress pattern?

THEY went TO London to VISIT the QUEEN.
They WENT to LONDON to VISIT the QUEEN.
a) THEY went TO London to VISIT the QUEEN. b) They WENT to LONDON to VISIT the QUEEN.

8. Which is the normal neutral stress pattern?

If we COOK, could you WASH the DISHES?
If WE cook, could YOU wash the dishes?
a) If we COOK, could you WASH the DISHES? b) If WE cook, could YOU wash the dishes?

9. An exception to the rule: We can also stress structure words in order to _______ wrong information.

provide
correct
a) provide b) correct

10. Which stress pattern corrects this statement? "I'm sure they work for the police."

THEY don't, but WE do.
They don't, BUT we do.
a) THEY don't, but WE do. b) They don't, BUT we do.

Your score is:

Correct answers:

Contributor: Matt Errey. Matt is the author of several books including 1000 Phrasal Verbs in Context and Common English Idioms for learners, and Matt's ESL Games and Quizzes for teachers. He is also creator of WORD UP, the world's #1 EFL board game.

Nobody has the right to obey.'