I found in an English grammar book the expression "heaviest stress". What does it mean?

L's clipping:

The l is doubled only when the last syllable has the heaviest stress.

  • I believe that the grammar book is written by a non-native speaker (that doesn't mean that the book must be bad or anything; I haven't read the book much enough to tell anyway), so they use an unfamiliar term. The more common terms are "primary stress" and "secondary stress". See also: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_%28linguistics%29. Sep 11, 2015 at 9:23

2 Answers 2


'Stressing' is increasing the loudness and vowel length while speaking any word. Stressing on certain syllables is very important in the pronunciation of the word. Surprisingly, the same word when turned into adjective, noun, adverb etc. takes different syllables to stress.

One of the best examples I know is of pronouncing photograph, photographer, and photographic (and luckily, I found this online!).

Check this link and hear the pronunciation - Note the stressed syllable

So, to answer you, the 'heaviest stress' is the stress which is the heaviest among others. Here, it's the last syllable.


A word may have more than one syllable with stress.

The heaviest stress refers to the syllable with the strongest stress in a word.

For example:

comMUniCAtion [kəˌmju:nɪˈkeɪʃn̩]

has two syllables with stresses, i.e. MU and CA.

But CA has a stronger stress, so we can say it has the heaviest stress.

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