Generally speaking, what are conditions under which function words in English are to be stressed.

I am working on weak/strong/contracted forms in English and the textbook states that WFs are to be used when the function word is unstressed

So when is this the case, when not?

  • 1
    They are contracted whenever possible, and unstressed unless they are being used contrastively (I didn't give you a dollar, I gave you 4 dollars) or emphatically (Dr. Eszterhazy is the man to see for this ailment). Which is to say, practically all the time. And sometimes they disappear entirely, like the have in have got. – john lawler in exile Apr 10 '15 at 20:07

In addition to the cases mentioned by Lawler in his comment, coming at the end of a constituent containing more than one word will often require stress and prevent contraction. "Would you like some ice cream?" "Yes, I'd like sm ice cream" / "Yes, I'd like some" / *"Yes, I'd like sm" / "Yes, I would" / *"Yes, I'd".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.