I am currently studying syllable stress.

When I look at the word begonia we can split it into 3 syllables with the stress on 'go'. E.g bih-gohn-yuh.

However, the plural form of the word gives me 4 syllables: begonias with the 'go' still stressed. I feel like the 'nia' should be stressed. What is the correct stress of the plural?

Is there a stressed syllable rule for plural words in English?

  • 2
    I'm pretty sure I pronounce both the single and the plural of begonia with four syllables! The stress stays in the same place though. Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 11:46
  • I'm not voting to close this because that would reject the migration and lose an valuable answer, but your question would be much improved if you explained why you think begonias has four syllables when the singular only has three.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 17:24

1 Answer 1


Pluralisation never changes the stress in English words; plurals are stressed on the same syllable as the singular. Begonia is stressed on the second syllable—/bɪˈɡəʊ.nɪə/—and so is its plural.

Moreover, the plural marker -s/es doesn't add an extra syllable to a word unless it ends with /s/, /z/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /t͡ʃ/ or /d͡ʒ/.

In case of begonias, the final sound (the sound before the plural marker) is a vowel so it's a three syllable word.

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