Prosodic Stress

I’ve always been bothered that English writing has no great way of describing prosodic stress. I only learned that term today but I’ve understood it for decades! What is “prosodic stress”? I’ll borrow from Wikipedia which has a nice definition and example:

I  didn’t take the test yesterday. (Somebody else did.)
I  didn’t  take the test yesterday. (I did not take it.)
I didn’t  take  the test yesterday. (I did something else with it.)
I didn’t take  the  test yesterday. (I took one of several.  or  I didn’t take the specific test that would have been implied.)
I didn’t take the  test  yesterday. (I took something else.)
I didn’t take the test  yesterday. (I took it some other day.)

Sadly, italics and bold usually come off as gauche, similar to how red circles get overused in memes.


Thanks to Tom Scott’s Why Shakespeare Could Never Have Been French video for teaching me the term!



  1. Phil says:


    I’ve just received a spam email from The usual ‘we have transferred 10 million dollars into your account….’ scam.

    I’m guessing that it wasn’t you, so you might well have been hacked.

    Kind regards,


  2. Lee says:

    Thanks for telling me about the spam. Yeah, it wasn’t really from my domain and I probably can’t do anything about it. But if you still have the email with all of its headers, I’d love to see it.
    Here’s a little guide I found on how to do that. You can send me the headers in a comment or email.

    I’ve been fighting spam spoofed  from my domain for years now. I wrote about it here

    Thanks and best regards

Leave a Comment

Do not write "http://" or "https://" in your comment, it will be blocked. It may take a few days for me to manually approve your first comment.