Pronunciation: Stress Differences in Nouns and Verbs

The word “project” can be a noun and it can be a verb. But did you know that they are pronounced differently?

Now you do.

Project (noun) has the stress on the first syllable (“pro”).

Project (verb) has the stress on the second syllable (“ject”).

There are numerous other words like these. In all of them, the same rule applies: The stress is on the first syllable in the noun, and on the second syllable in the verb.

Let’s look at some more examples.



1 The farmers are bringing their produce to the market.

Here, the word “produce” is a noun, so the stress is on the first syllable (“pro”).

2 They haven’t produced many tomatoes this season, because there wasn’t enough sun.

“Produced” is used as a verb, so the stress is on the second syllable (“duced”).


1 There’s been an increase in the number of library books by another 7,500 this year.

Where’s the stress? On the first syllable, right, because “increase” is a noun here. So on “in.”

2 The government officials increase their efforts to reach an agreement with the strikers.

Where’s the stress? It should be on the second syllable, because “increase” is a verb here. So the stress is on “crease.”


1 She gave him a nice present for his birthday.

Where’s the stress? Right, it’s on “pre” because present is used as a noun.

2 He had to present his business plan to his managers, and he was a little bit nervous.

The stress is on “sent” because present is used as a verb.

I think you’ve got it.


Here is an Exercise:

Make sentences with the following words, and practise saying them:






If you scroll down, you will find some sample sentences. Of course your own sentences will be different!








Verb: The tennis player contested the decision by the umpire that the ball was out.

Noun: The two sisters participated in the beauty contest.


Verb: We don’t permit our small children to cross the street alone.

Noun: You need a permit to fish in the lake.


Verb: The Occupy demonstrators protest against greediness of the banks.

Noun: The students’ protest ended when the police sprayed water on them.


Verb: He objected against the decision by the judge to grant custody over his children to their mother.

Noun: There’s a strange object sitting on that shelf, and I don’t know what it is.


Verb: Her boyfriend insulted her all the time about the fact that she was small.

Noun: I said that your mouth was big, but it wasn’t an insult; it was a compliment.


Further learning about pronunciation, click here.

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