The Normal Stress Rule (NSR)

The Normal Stress Rule (NSR)

As the flowchart indicates, if a word does not have prefixes or suffixes, the Normal Stress Rule (NSR) usually applies.

The NSR is fairly easy and predicts the placement of the primary stress according to the number of syllables in the word:

  • two-syllable words are stressed /10/, examples: TAble, DIAmond
  • three-syllable words are stressed /100/, examples: POSsible, CALorie
  • words of three syllables or more are stressed /-100/  

Look at the following words; for each word, specify if the Normal Stress Rule applies, and if it does, indicate which syllable would receive the stress. If the NSR doesn’t apply, identify the prefixes and suffixes:


WordDoes the NSR apply?If not, what are the affixes in the word?
  1. carpet
  2. capitalistic
  3. camera
  4. camel
  5. subdivide
  6. caravan
  7. gratitude
  8. restock
  9. ruthlessness
  10. either
  11. taxi
  12. gather
  13. react
  14. recharge
  15. tickle
  16. inexact
  17. careful


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