In the sentence "You just walked in without knocking!", if I want to emphasize that I'm ANGRY about someone NOT KNOCKING the door, Which word, "just", "without" or "knocking", should I stress

  • Unfortunately, this question is a matter of opinion and therefore out of the scope of ELL – Bee Sep 3 at 11:39

I'd say all 3.

    ^             v   ^       ^

You just walked in without knocking?

... or even just on just and knocking is good.

(I don't know how to do the intonation arrows. Someone please help me with that.)

In colloquial English, adding a "just" between the subject and the verb often expresses surprise, anger or some similar emotions. Stress is also placed on the "just", sometimes with a pause right after (sometimes also before) the "just".
Additionally, stressing the "without" expresses that you want the listener to do the opposite, that is *to walk in with a knock"

  • 1
    I don't think "just" should be stressed. To me that puts the emphasis on the recency of the transgression. I'd stress "walked in" the most, and "knocking" slightly less. – TypeIA Sep 3 at 5:08
  • You can also not stress "just", but the word "just" itself puts emphasis and stress on "walked in without knocking" and expresses your feelings towards that action, so it's also often stressed. – John Zhau Sep 3 at 5:10
  • 1
    I respectfully disagree. To my ear (native midwestern Am.E speaker), stressing "just" in any combination with other elements gives the sentence an unwanted emphasis that doesn't fit with the OP's requested meaning of expressing anger. – TypeIA Sep 3 at 7:22
  • "You just had to do that." To my ear, the "just" in this example makes it sound angrier, especially with emphasis on the "just". – John Zhau Sep 3 at 12:12

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