Change word meanings with SYLLABLE STRESS
Hello. This is Gill at www.engvid.com, and today, we’re going
to be having a look at a very interesting aspect
of the English language: What happens with some words if you stress a different syllable. Okay? This is quite
important, because sometimes the change of stress just changes a noun to a verb, or a
verb to a noun, but there are some other words which we will also be looking at where the
meaning of the word completely changes if you change which syllable you’re stressing.
Okay. So this is quite important to be clear on which syllable to stress for the
particular meaning that you want. Okay. So, we’re going to start with the easier part,
which is a two-syllable word, so two syllables: “mm-mm, mm-mm”, two syllables where if you stress it on the first syllable where I’ve put
capital letters, it’s the noun; and if you stress it on the
second syllable, again, capital letters, it becomes the verb. The general meaning is
the same with this group of words, but you’re changing from noun to
verb when you’re changing the stress. Okay? So it’s important to know whether you’re saying
a noun or a verb. So remember it’s always the first stress syllable is the noun,
second syllable stressed is the verb. Okay, so let’s have a look
at the example, here. So, a “RE-cord”, if you keep a record of something or if you play a record that
has music on it in the days when we used to have black plastic records that went round and
round on a gramophone or a record player. A “record” is something recorded, or if you
write down in a document, you make a note of something, you make a… You keep a record
of something that happened, or something that was agreed. Maybe in a meeting somebody keeps
a note of the discussion of the meeting, and then they print it out and send it to everyone
who was at the meeting as a record of that meeting, what was discussed, what was agreed, and so on.
So, the “record”, that’s the noun: “the record”, “a record” is the noun. But if
you then change the stress and say: “re-CORD”, that becomes the verb. We are going to record a song.
So if you’re making a CD, now, rather than a black plastic record that goes around,
a CD, we are going to record the new song that we’ve written. Or at the meeting, we
will record the agreement. So, that is the verb, the action of recording. If you say:
“recording”, “recording”, it’s the “cord” bit that you stress. But a record is
the thing itself, the noun. Okay. And you’ll also notice the vowel sound changes
slightly, because you’re changing the stress. So: “record”, “eh”, the “eh” sound, but “record”,
“a”, it becomes an “a” sound, here. “RE-cord”, “re-CORD”, so sometimes with the change of stress,
the vowel sound changes, too. Okay. Right, next one: “SUS-pect” and “sus-PECT”. Right? So, “suspect”, if
someone is a suspect, they are usually, maybe the police think that
they committed a crime. We have caught the suspect. We are questioning a suspect of someone
who maybe stole something from a shop, and then somebody identifies them later, and that is a suspect.
So that’s the noun, the person, usually, is a suspect. If you suspect someone,
if you do the action of suspecting, the police suspect this person of having committed that crime.
So, we suspect, if you do the action of suspecting. So: “SUS-pect” is the noun,
“sus-PECT” is the verb, the action of having suspicion about somebody. Okay. “IM-port” and “im-PORT”. An import or the import is some
product that is imported from one country to another. We have imports. The
goods themselves, the products, which arrive by plane, or ship, that’s the import. Okay?
The thing itself. But the action is we import these goods on a daily basis. We are importing the goods.
So the action is import. All right? An “IN-sult”, that is an insult. If somebody
says something bad to you, they say: “Oh, you don’t look very nice today. I don’t
like what you’re wearing. It’s terrible. I don’t like your hair. I don’t
like anything about you.” That’s an insult. That’s a really… Not very nice thing to say to anybody. So, they make…
They make an insult. That’s the thing itself that they say, the noun. And
then the action is they have insulted you, that was… And you might say to them: “Please don’t insult me.
Please don’t insult me.” So that’s the action or telling
them not to do that action. “Please don’t insult me.” All right. A “CON-flict”, like with a war, people fighting.
There was a conflict today in the street. There were people fighting in the street.
There was a conflict, and the police had to come and stop… Stop it happening. So that’s the a-…
The actual situation, so that’s the noun, “a conflict”, an actual
thing that was there happening. But when people “con-FLICT”, that’s the verb, the action, so these people
fighting in the street with their conflict, they were have… They were conflicting. So
they were doing that action. They conflict. All right. “PER-mit”. So, if you’re maybe travelling
from one country to another, sometimes you need a permit to travel, so a document, maybe
with your photograph on. I have my permit, here, with my photograph on. So, the person at
the border might want to check your passport, your other documents, your visa, your permit,
your permission to be there to come into that country, your permit. So it’s a thing, a document, a noun.
But then the activity at the border will “per-MIT” you to enter the country. They
will permit you. So that’s the action, the permission. They will permit you. So I have
my permit, so they should permit me to enter. Okay? And then finally for this section: a “RE-ject” is the thing in a
factory, often, when things are made in a factory, sometimes things go
wrong and some of the items manufactured in the factory, they come along the conveyer
belt, and there are people called quality control inspectors who
check to make sure every item is right, that everything has come out well. Sometimes, though, there’s something with…
It hasn’t come out right; there’s something missing, that’s damaged, so it’s a reject.
So they might take it off the conveyer belt and throw it in a box, so it’s a reject.
There’s something wrong with it. That’s the thing. But the action that they do in removing it
and throwing it into a box, they are “re-JECTing” that item, that’s the action.
They reject the item. So they reject the reject. Okay? So, on that happy note, we’ll move
on to the second set of words. Okay. Okay, so moving on to our second set of words,
we’re looking at some changes of meaning, but this time, there is very little connection
in the meaning from one to the other. So, for example, there’s one
with three syllables here: “IN-va-lid” and “in-VAL-id”. Okay? So they’re totally different meanings. An
invalid is someone who maybe they can’t walk very easily, they’re disabled, they may use a wheelchair.
An invalid, or they’re maybe just temporarily unable to move around easily. Maybe they had
an accident and they’re on crutches, something like that. So an invalid is a person who has
been injured or they have difficulty moving, walking. Okay. So, then “in-VAL-id”, that’s
an adjective meaning not valid. So the “in” at the beginning means “not”. So, if something
is invalid, you cannot use it. Maybe your passport, when you go to another country,
you didn’t notice that it was out of date, the date has gone by and you forgot to renew
it, and at the border control, they might say: “I’m sorry, your passport is invalid.
You can’t use it. You can’t come in.” So, that’s a completely different meaning from
someone who’s… Has difficulty moving around. So, “invalid”, okay? Next one: “CON-tent” and “con-TENT”. Right. Now, the content of
something is what is inside it. If you have a box with things inside,
it contains those things, so the content or contents with an “s”. Or the content of a
document, what’s in the document. That’s the meaning of “content”, what is in something.
So that’s a noun. Okay? If you are content, that’s an
adjective describing how you are. If I’m content, I’m happy,
comfortable, enjoying myself. “I’m very content”, you can say. “I’m really content just
sitting here, reading a book.” It’s a sort of relaxed kind of meaning of
happy, just content, just comfortable. Content. Okay? Now, next one: “EN-trance” and “en-TRANCE”. So, entrance is a noun. The
entrance to a building, it’s where you go in, the entrance,
the front door. Entrance. You enter through the entrance. So that’s a noun. To entrance
somebody, so that’s a verb… “I was entranced”, meaning sort of amazed by something. Hypnotized, maybe.
Oh, entranced, so put into a trance. If you know the word “trance”, if you’re in
a trance, someone has hypnotized you. So to be entranced or to entrance somebody, if you
are the hypnotist and you entrance someone, you put them into a trance.
So, that’s the verb. Okay, next one: “REF-use” and “re-FUSE”. The refuse is the rubbish.
If you throw your refuse out once a week and into a dustbin or rubbish
bin or refuse bin, and the local council, the local authority come and collect it, and
it goes to a place. So all the rubbish, the refuse. Okay? But… So that’s a noun. But
if you refuse something, so that’s the verb, “to refuse”, it’s to say
no to something. Right? “I refuse… I refuse to go out today.
It’s raining. I refuse. No, I’m not going.” Refuse. Okay? Next one: “OB-ject” and “ob-JECT”. An object, so it’s a noun, is a thing.
This pen, here, is an object. There are objects
everywhere, so they’re nouns. If you object to something, so that’s a verb,
you’re saying, again, it’s a bit like “refuse”, object. You disagree. You say: “No, I don’t agree with that.
I object.” If you are at a meeting and they have made a decision or they want to do something
that you don’t like, you say: “No, I object to that. I don’t
want that to happen.” Okay. “Des-ert” and “des-ERT”. So… So, the desert, a noun, is
like a Sahara Desert, huge, hot area that’s just sand, no water. The desert.
In the desert. Okay? So that’s the noun. To desert, so it’s a verb, if you desert somebody…
So, I was with my friend, shopping, and she saw somebody else she knew and she deserted
me and went off with this other friend, so I was deserted. So, if you desert somebody, you leave them alone and go
somewhere else instead. Okay. Then finally: “CON-sole” and “con-SOLE”, so this is a noun, the
console is usually, it’s a machine where you’re looking at a screen,
maybe a computer and a keyboard, and controls and things that you press, buttons. The console,
it’s a sort of control, a place where you control something. The console. If you console someone, so it’s
a verb, to console someone is when somebody is upset, unhappy, something
bad has happened to them, and so you console them by maybe put your
arm around them, say: “Don’t worry, it’ll be okay.” Try to make them feel better and sympathize
with them. You’re consoling them. Okay, so I hope that’s helpful. And there’s
a list, here, there are lots more words. I found all the words I could where
this kind of thing happens. There isn’t time in the lesson
to go into all of these, but I’ve specially written a
resource document which is on the www.engvid.com website where all
of this is explained. Okay? And there is also a quiz
in there that you can do. So please go to the resource sheet,
look at all the explanations. You might want to download it on
to your computer, print it out. It should be a very useful thing to know the differences
between these words, and with the different stresses. So, please go to the website: www.engvid.com
to the resource sheet, which includes a quiz, and if you’d like to subscribe to my YouTube
channel, I hope you’ll do that, too. And look forward to seeing you
again as soon as possible. Okay? Bye for now.