In the question: "Could you come with me, please?" I would stress the content words "come" and "please" and let the other function words unstressed. I think this is the way we pronounce it as long as we don't shift the stress for special emphasis. Am I right? I'm not sure about the word "me", though. It's a function word and I think some people would stress it, but I don't see any reason to stress it as long I don't make a contrast or something like that. Am I right?


The stress in that sentence is very ambiguous. You could stress any word in that sentence and it would be perfectly fine. It wouldn't even necessarily change the meaning. But that being said, here's how I would break it down:

Could you come with me, please?

I'm addressing an individual out of a group, and I want to emphasize that only the individual, not the group, should follow me.

Could you come with me, please?

This stress adds some authority to it. It brings the image of police officers or school principals to my mind. As opposed to

Could you come with me, please?

Stressing just "please" makes it plaintive. This speaker is frustrated with the subject or expects an argument. Similarly

Could you come with me, please?

Either with or without stressing "please", stressing the "could" makes the speaker sound exasperated. It's actually somewhat difficult for me to do, but if you do it evokes an image of a parent trying to get a child to comply with them.

Could you come with me, please?

This sounds like the most neutral stress to me. I associate this with nurses or clerical workers, who don't necessarily have authority, but do need to show you where to go.

That being said, unless you are putting a lot of stress on a word, no one is going to feel that any of those is unnatural or wrong.

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