When saying:

A lot of them are more than a hundred years old.

which word, "years" or "old", should be stressed?

And is each stress have a different meaning or not? If it's yes, what are they?

Because I heard a lot of people stressing either "years" or "old", so it causes me confusing to understand what kind of meaning they're trying to convey.

  • 1
    I don't know where you've been hearing people stress 'years' in constructions like this, except maybe 'No, he's not two years old; he's two months old!' – Aeon Akechi Sep 13 '19 at 11:34

A lot of them are more than a hundred years old.

Typically neither "years" or "old" would be stressed. The whole sentence would be read in a flat monotone like a television documentary.

I can imagine stressing "more" or "hundred", to emphasis the meaning of those words. If you emphasis the entire "hundred years old", it would be to stress how old it is.

The longer a sentence is, to more often you find small pauses and stresses, which serve to break it into pieces, or follow the overall cadence/rhythm. In those cases, the pause or stress isn't really intended to emphasis the word, it's more accidental.

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