I'm looking for a right way to stress words ending in -fluence in American English. There should be a change of stress depending on whether it's used a noun or verb. Also, in "finance" I stress the 1st syllable as a noun, but 2nd as a verb - am I right?

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    Wikipedia has this list of "Initial-stress-derived_nouns" (where the "original" verb form had stress on the second syllable, but when used as a noun, the stress moves to the first syllable)... absent · abstract · accent · access · addict · address · affect · affix · alloy · ally · annex · assay · attribute · augment · belay · bombard · combat · combine · commune · compact · complex · composite · compost · compound · compress · concert · conduct · confect · confine(s) · conflict · conscript[ · conserve · consist ... – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Oct 12 '18 at 18:43
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    Confluence isn't a verb. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 12 '18 at 18:52
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    I thought influence was always stressed on the first syllable. – snetch Oct 12 '18 at 20:01
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    Stress is not a foolproof test for nounhood vs verbhood. Many people put slight stress on the first syllable in both usages. – BillJ Oct 13 '18 at 7:12
  • I bet they put that slight stress because they are not sure how to use it correctly. E.g. I have heard in'fluence a number of times. – James Oct 14 '18 at 13:57

The word finance can have stress either on the first syllable or second, whether it's used as a verb or a noun. I happen to work in that field and I stress the first syllable unless I'm trying to impress someone, in which case I use the second. Stressing the second syllable sounds fancy almost to the point of being supercilious.

Influence has the first syllable stressed, always, regardless of whether it is used as a noun or verb.

Confluence is an uncommon word to the point that most people won't know it (except because of context) but the first syllable is stressed there too. I wouldn't be surprised if people mispronounced it. I've never spoken the word aloud.

I don't know what other words you might consider "similar" to these but stressing the first syllable is a good guess in the US.

  • No offence, but the speech of people who work in Finance can't be used as a standard of (American) English. – James Oct 14 '18 at 13:54
  • None taken, but what are you saying? I said people pronounce it both ways, with stressing the second syllable being much less common in ordinary speech. Are you saying no one stresses the second or that everyone does? – farnsy Oct 14 '18 at 17:17

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