5

here are four sentences. I mark the words that I believe are stressed with bold.

  1. I'll call you back.
  2. I'll call you back in a minute.
  3. I'll call you back in a few minutes.
  4. I'll call you back as soon as I can

Did I apply the stress correctly? The last content word gets the most stress.Right? If yes, my question is this: is it necessary to apply some stress to the verb "call" or just stress the last content words? The verb is also a content word.

  • This can get pretty subjective and is based on how you're trying to say it. For 4, I'd probably stress soon. – Catija Feb 17 '15 at 15:45
  • 1
    Yes, it's true that any word can be stressed to give it emphasis, there is a default unemphatic accent however.I recorded it: clyp.it/a5rmhgzq In the first one I stressed both "call" and "back". In the second one I only stressed "back". – Zoltan King Feb 17 '15 at 16:05
6

When the preposition in a phrasal verb has no noun complement afterwards it is usually stressed:

  • Take off the jumper
  • Take the jumper off
  • Take off

For this reason all the instances of back in the Original Poster's example will probably be stressed. As the Original Poster has indicated lexical verbs will usually also take stress, but auxiliaries usually won't unless in a negative contraction. An exception to this is when they occur at the end of the sentence, when they will often be stressed. This is why can is stressed in sentence (4). Adverbs usually take stress, so the adverb soon is likely to be stressed. The quantifiers many and few also usually take stress too. Because of this we would expect the following stress patterns:

  1. I'll call you back.
  2. I'll call you back in a minute.
  3. I'll call you back in a few minutes.
  4. I'll call you back as soon as I can

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