Word Stress, Punctuation and Speech Writing


Welcome to class! 

In today’s class, we will be talking about word stress, punctuation and speech writing. Enjoy the class!

Word Stress, Punctuation and Speech Writing

WORD STRESS | classnotes.ng


Every polysyllabic word (words of more than one syllable) in the English Language is not pronounced the same way. That means if a word has two or more syllables, all the individual syllables in that word are not pronounced the same way. One of the syllables receives a force greater than others when pronounced. That syllable that received the greater force is said to be stressed. The other syllables which do not receive force as much as that of the stressed syllable are called unstressed syllables.

Pronounce the following words aloud to yourself:

window                                                        early

mother                                                          father

vowel                                                            picnic

major                                                             people

message                                                       greater

servant                                                          brilliant

Did you notice anything special in them?

If you didn’t, I did.

They are all stressed on the first syllables. How do I know that? Notice that when you pronounced each word, your voice sounded louder, longer and more forceful on the first syllable than on the second.

Let’s try it again with that understanding:

WINdow                                                       EARly

MOther                                                          FAther

VOwel                                                           PIcnic

MAjor                                                             PEople

MEssage                                                        GREAter

SERvant                                                         BRIlliant

Let me give you some examples of words that stress on the second syllable

resPOND                                                        canTEEN

beLIEVE                                                         eNJOY

aNNOUNCE                                                 oBTAIN

dELAY                                                            aLONE

poLICE                                                          maCHINE

aBOVE                                                           inSPECT 


We use punctuation marks in sentences to separate clauses and their elements in order to avoid ambiguities and clarify meanings.

Today, we will be talking about some of the most frequently used punctuation marks in English Language and how they are used.

  1. The Full Stop (or Period) (.)

This is mostly used for marking the end of a statement. Examples:

  1. He left the room in anger.
  2. The congregation has dispersed.
  • The period is a punctuation mark.

Note that whenever the full stop is used, the first letter of the next word is written in capital letter.

  1. The Comma (,)

Besides the full stop, the comma is the most frequently used punctuation mark in the English Language. It is commonly used to separate main and subordinate clauses in sentences, to mark out lists of items, and for ensuring there is clarity in sentences. Examples:

  1. Though Korede left earlier, we got to the venue before him.
  2. Because of her performance, Chisom received a medal, a sum of ten thousand naira and a standing ovation after the competition.
  • a) Kill it, not spare it. (That means you should kill it)
  • b) Kill it not, spare it. (That means you should spare it)
  1. The Question Mark (?)

This is inserted at the end of a question to show that a question is being asked. Examples:

  • Who are those people?
  • He is leaving your school?
  • Will you please shut the door?
  1. The Colon ( : )

We use the colon to link two clauses within a compound or compound-complex sentence, to introduce a list and to introduce direct speech. Example:

  1. Such a man must be wise: he must have the cunning of a seasoned politician.
  2. Winston lost a number of items, namely: a mobile phone, a Rolex watch and a laptop.
  • Babalola: Did you park the car well?

Semilore:                   Yes Mum, in the garage.

  1. The Semi-colon ( ; )

We use the semi-colon less frequently to link two or more clauses in a compound or compound-complex sentences:

  1. I came; I saw; I conquered.
  2. You certainly can come; it is everybody’s affair.

Also, polish your use of punctuation by paying attention to the way they are used in the books you read henceforth.


Speech is a form of continuous writing composed to be delivered orally on an occasion. A well written speech should have the following features:

 1. Title: This is your focus. It captures the message you are trying to pass across and on which occasion you are delivering the speech.

2. Salutation: Since you will be delivering your speech verbally, you need to prepare to salute the people that will be present on the occasion. This means you may have to get a list of their names or designation before the d-day.

  • Introduction: This is where you recognize your audience and give them a preview of what you want to talk about. To achieve this correctly, try to connect the reason for the occasion to your speech so that your words will be relevant. The introduction should not be more than a paragraph.

3. Body: This is the point where you deliver your message. Having highlighted your points, arrange them in their order of significance such that the most important is at the top. Then treat each point under a paragraph until you have exhausted every point you have highlighted.

4. Conclusion: Your conclusion entails the summary of your speech. It may come as an added information, an anecdote, a reference to something you’ve written earlier or a general saying that everyone will be able to relate with.

5. Name: Write down your name in full at the end of your speech.

  • Designation: Input your designation after your name, such as ‘Senior Prefect, Royal Mine College, Alapere, Lagos.’

Ensure that you write your speech with clarity of language usage. As much as possible design your language to suit the kind of audience you are writing for. If, for example, you are writing a speech to celebrate the 50th birthday of your school principal, you are certain that other teachers, some parents, and your colleagues will be present at such occasion. Therefore, you have to avoid an unguided use of slangs so that the people listening to you can relate with your speech and not get lost.

Also, practice as often as you can so you will be able to improve your skill in speech writing.


In our next class, we will be talking about Word Forms, Informal Letter and Writing Exposition.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.

Get more class notes, videos, homework help, exam practice on Android [DOWNLOAD]

Get more class notes, videos, homework help, exam practice on iPhone [DOWNLOAD]

1 thought on “Word Stress, Punctuation and Speech Writing”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Don`t copy text!