They use job descriptions and person specifications.

What this sentence means and whether it's logical is beyond the point.

My question is the following: What happens to the stress in the word 'specifications'? Does it move back to the front of the word?

I can't find the rule for the 'noun + longer noun' pattern i.e. for words with a main and secondary stress. enter image description here

'PErson(noun) 'specifiˌcations (longer noun)


'PErson(noun) ˌspecifi'cations (longer noun)


'person(noun) 'SPEcifiˌcations (longer noun)

I'm talking about the phrase 'person specifications' employed in a coherent sentence where I'm providing new information to the speaker without any emphasis on any specific words. Which one is the correct version? I wouldn't mind some link or screenshot to back up your claims, but if it can't be provided, then by all means tell me what's your take on this.

  • The emphasis isn't any different than the individual words. (The phrase "person specifications" doesn't really make sense.)
    – MaxW
    Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 16:48
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Person_specification
    – Fae
    Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 17:00
  • 1
    Very interesting - I'd never heard of a "person specification" before either. I notice all of the references for the Wiki page are UK websites; I wonder if it's primarily a British English term.
    – stangdon
    Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


Person Specification is British English, but more importantly it is a specialized term (or industry phrase) so the rule you are referencing will not apply.

Intuitively, I place the stress on PERson and specifiCAtion.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .