If you get the spelling and stress mark positions correct, you are 95 percent of the way to a good sounding sentence. The next thing to do is decide on the stress mark values. They can be roughly related to parts of speech, and you can use the table shown below as a guide to assigning values. RECOMMENDED STRESS VALUES Part of Speech Stress Value -------------- ------------ Exclamations 9 Adverbs 7 Quantifiers 7 Nouns 5 Adjectives 5 Verbs 4 Pronouns 3 Secondary stress 1 or 2 Everything else None The above values merely suggest a range. If you want attention directed to a certain word, raise its value. If you want to downplay a word, lower it. Sometimes even a function word can be the focus of a sentence. It is quite conceivable that the word to in the sentence Please deliver this to Mr. Smith. could receive a stress mark of 9. This would add focus to the word, indicating that the item should be delivered to Mr. Smith in person.
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