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Hi, everybody. Welcome back to "Know Your Verbs." My name is Alisha. And, in this episode, we're going to talk about the verb "stress." Let's get started.
Let's start with the basic definition of the verb "stress." To "stress" means to worry about something. Some examples, "I'm stressing about my job," "Don't stress so much."
Okay. Now, let's look at the conjugations for this verb. Present, stress, stresses. Past, stressed. Past participle, stressed. Progressive, stressing.
Now, let's talk about some additional meanings for this verb. The first additional meaning for "stress" is to emphasize something. Some examples, "I want to stress how important this is," "He stressed the seriousness of the situation."
So, in both of these example sentences, we can replace the verb "stress" with the word "emphasize." In the first example sentence, “I want to stress how important this is.” We can replace the verb "stress" with "emphasize," and the meaning stays the same. So, we use "stress" just as a personal choice. "I want to stress how important this is," it's a quicker way than saying "emphasize." So, we can choose which word we prefer between these two. In the second example sentence, "He stressed the seriousness of the situation," it's like saying "emphasize" again. We can replace "stressed" with the word "emphasized" in the past tense here. "He emphasized the seriousness of the situation." So, in this case, "emphasize" and "stress" are interchangeable.
The second additional meaning is to pronounce with more force than other syllables. Some examples, "Stress the first syllable in the word 'beautiful'," "You're stressing the wrong syllable." So, this use of "stress" means "emphasize," yes. But, we use this when we're talking about speech. So, there are different parts of words that we "stress" or that we "emphasize" when we're speaking. In particular, in English, it can be very important to "stress" or to "emphasize" the correct syllable in a word to make yourself understood. Remember, a syllable is like the beats in a word. In the first example sentence, I said, "Stress the first syllable of the word 'beautiful'." That means the first beat of the word beautiful, which has three syllables, three beats, should be emphasized. It should be "stressed," “beau-ti-ful.” So, to "stress" something means to say something with more force. In this case, "beau-" gets more "stress" or more force used as a noun, than "ti-" or "-ful," “beau-ti-ful.” If you say, beau-‘ti-ful, it sounds strange, or beau-ti-'ful, it sounds strange. So, to pronounce the word naturally, we need to use "stress" as a noun in the proper way. We can describe this by saying, "stress the first syllable" or "stress the second syllable."
The second example sentence introduces a common problem. "You're stressing the wrong syllable." A great example of how this can cause confusion is the sentence, "You've put the emphasis on the wrong syllable." Sometimes, people make a joke out of this expression and say, "You put the em-'pha-sis on the wrong syl-‘la-ble." It's like you're changing the emphasis of the expression. "Emphasis" I've changed to em-'pha-sis, and "syllable" I change to syl-'la-ble. So, those two words by changing the emphasis by changing the "stress" on those two words, it makes it more difficult to understand what I actually want to say. So, make sure you "stress" the correct syllable in your speech. So, we use "stress" as a very important word in language learning. We use it as a noun and as a verb, as we see in this meaning.
The third additional meaning is to cause physical stress, like through weight or tension. Some examples, "The roof is stressed beyond safe limits," "The heat is stressing our computers." So, this use of "stress" refers to some kind of weight, or some kind of tension, some kind of like pressure being put on an object that maybe makes it difficult to perform correctly, it maybe makes it dangerous. In the first example, it's a building. "The roof is stressed," so that means maybe there's a lot of weight on the roof or a lot of tension on the roof. "Tension" refers to like, for example, when you have a rope and you pull the rope very, very tightly. Like, it's not necessarily stable, maybe it becomes weak or it's just not supposed to have so much stretch applied to it. So, roof, "The roof is under stress," refers to too much like physical force on the roof.
So, in the second example sentence, "The heat is stressing our computers." It means the heat is like kind of -- you can imagine putting like pressure onto our computers, kind of. Or, it's making our computers hard to use or the computers are working really, really hard. So, you can imagine when a person feels "stressed," it's difficult for them to work maybe it's hard for them to work quickly or efficiently. In this example sentence, we can think of computers the same way because of some outside force, in this case, heat.
Let's move along now to some variations in the verb "stress." The first variation is "to stress out." "To stress out" means to feel worry or to feel nervousness. Some examples, "My neighbor is really stressing me out," "Try not to stress out about small things." So, "to stress out" means to feel stressed, and like just to kind of have that feeling, I'm stressing out about something, or my neighbor is stressing me out. That means my neighbor is causing me to worry. My neighbor is causing me to feel nervous. So, it refers to that kind of state. I'm in a condition. I'm in like a situation of feeling worried, of feeling nervous. So, in this case, "my neighbor," the cause is stressing me out. We use it in the progressive form. A lot something is stressing me out. In the second example sentence, it's a piece of advice. "Try not to stress out about small things." It means like try not to worry so much, or try not to allow or let small things in your life cause you to be nervous, or cause you to worry. "Try not to stress out about small things."
Great! So, those are a few hopefully new ways that you can use the verb "stress." I hope that you found something you can use. Of course, if you know a different way to use the verb "stress," not just the noun, please feel free to let us know in the comments. If you have questions or other comments, or if you'd like to practice making an example sentence with this verb, please feel free to do so in the comment section of this video. Thanks very much for watching this episode of "Know Your Verbs," and we'll see you again soon. Bye.