Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How does stress change the meaning of a sentence?

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Hi, I'm Adam. Welcome back to

Today, the lesson is going to be a little bit different than what you used to. It`s not so much about grammar or vocabulary,

it's about English meaning. Now I understand that all of you are studying very hard.

You're reading, you're looking at the dictionary, you're writing.

You're speaking to as many people in English as you can. But sometimes, you get a little bit confused. You're watching a movie from Hollywood.

You're watching some English TV show. And

you know that, you understand the words,

you understand the sentence, and the grammar is no problem. Yet, you're not sure exactly why, but you're missing something.

Now, I'll tell you what you're missing:


You need to understand, a lot of what is spoken in English, and I'm sure, in your language as well,

not only English. A lot of what is meant in English, is meant in, how the words are spoken,

not the words themselves.

So we're going to look at "intonation"

and "accent", and "stress" in English and how it can change meaning.

Now look at this sentence: "I didn't say he stole the money".

Very simple sentence. Seven words,

no problem, right? But,

I can say this sentence

seven different ways and have seven different meanings to this one sentence.

Let's look at it. If I put the stress, I'm gonna, this means stress,

If I put the stress on the first word "I", it changes the meaning of the sentence.

"I didn't say he stole the money".

I didn't say it. Means, I'm suggesting, somebody else said it, not me.

okay, no problem,

"I didn't say he stole the money".

You made a mistake, you think I said it, but, I didn't say it.

Right? I'm stressing this word. So, that's where the focus is, that's where the meaning is.


"I didn't say he stole the money".

What am I implying now?

Maybe, I hinted it. I said, I pointed, right? And you thought: "oh, you said he stole the money".

I didn't say it. I just hinted it


"I didn't say he stole the money". What does that mean? Somebody else stole the money. Don't confuse it with this person.

"I didn't say he stole the money". Maybe, he borrowed it and forgot to bring it back. Or maybe, he misplaced it.

"I didn't say he stole it", right?

"I didn't say he stole the money"

I'm not, we're not talking about this money. We're talking about other money. He stole that money, not this money.

"I didn't say he stole the money", right?

I'm stressing money, means, he stole something else. He stole they watch.

Somebody else stole the money. Wasn't me, but somebody else stole the money.

So, you see: one sentence,

I stress each word, I changed the meaning completely. Now, for another very good example.

I know you all love this word - "really".

it's a, It's a really interesting word. Of course, there's the everyday meaning, which means very.


native English speakers use this word in many, many situations

to give many different meanings, okay? Now, bear with me. I'm not a very good actor, but I'll do my best.

Your friend comes to you and says: - "Guess what, I won the lottery, I won 50 million dollars".

I'm in shock:

- "Really?" Means shock. I don't know what you're talking about: "really?"

Another situation

Your friend has two tickets to your favorite bands concert and he says: - "I have an extra ticket, do you want to go? - Really?

Means you're very excited, you're very happy. This "really" has a very different meaning.

You call your boss, you say: - Oh, I'm really sick. I can't come to work today. And your boss

he doesn't trust you, says: - Really?

That "really" means, I think you're lying. I don't believe you.

Another situation

Another situation. You know what flirting is.

A girl comes to you, says: - "I like your shirt". You're: - Really?

Like that, right, you're flirting. You're trying to play with her. Trying to get a date out of her, maybe.

All from one word you see. All these different meanings from one word.

Let's thinking of another me, another situation

Your friend says: - "Guess what, the boss is not coming to work today." - Really

Means, you're thinking, you're going to do something bad, something evil. You're planning.

So, these are just a few examples, there are others. I can use this word "really" in many different situations,

each time a little bit different meaning. But all of this goes to show,

don't worry, if you hear something, if you watch a movie or even a song.

And you're not exactly sure you got the meaning. That's because, it's not about the words, it's about the way

they're said. The only way to fix this, to improve. Is keep listening, keep listening, watch movies, watch TV-shows.

Speak to as many native speakers as you can. Eventually, you'll start picking these up.

If you like this lesson,

please, come to

and if you liked it on YouTube, please, subscribe to my channel. I'll be happy to give you other lessons.

I'm hoping that, I can help you a lot with your English and together, we'll both improve and learn new things.

Thank you very much for watching. I'll see you soon

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