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In every word -which 'contains more than one syllable, one of the syllables is pronounced with a somewhat greater stress of voice than the others. This syllable is said to be accented. The accented syllable is distinguished by this mark o, the same which is used in inflections.



Remark. — In most cases custom is the only guide for placing the accent on one syllable rather than another. Sometimes, however, the same word is differently accented in order to mark its different meanings.


CWjure, to practice enchantments. Conjure', to entreat. Gallant, brave. Gallant1, a gay fellow.

August, a month. Au-gust1, grand.

Remark. — A number of words used sometimes as one part of speech, and sometimes as another, vary their accents irregularly.


Pres'ent, the noun. I _ , ., .

_ , ,', .... rre-senr, the verb.

Pres'ent, the adjective. |

-,,,,, | Corn-pact1, the adjective.

CW'pact, the noun. _ ' ,' J,

| Corn-pact, the verb.

In words of more than two syllables there is often a second accent given, but more slight than the principal one, and this is called the secondary accent; as, caravan" ', repartee', where the principal accent is marked (') and the secondary ("); so, also, tnis accent is obvious in nav"i-jrc'tion, com^pre-Aere'sion, plau"$i-bil'i-ty, etc. The whole subject, however, properly belongs to dictionaries and spelling books.


A word is said to be emphasized when it is uttered with a greater stress of voice than the other words with which it is connected.

Remark 1.—The object of emphasis is to attract particular attention to the word upon which it is placed, indicating that the idea to be conveyed depends very much upon that word. This object, as just stated, is generally accomplished by increasing the force of utterance, but sometimes, also, by a change in the inflection, by the use of the monotone, by pause, or by uttering the words in a very low key. Emphatic words are often denoted by italics, and a still stronger emphasis by Small Capitals or CAPITALS, according to the degree of emphasis desired.

Remark 2.—Emphasis constitutes the most important feature in reading and speaking, and, properly applied, gives life and character to language. Accent, inflection, and indeed everything yields to emphasis.

Remark 3.—In the following examples it will be seen that accent is governed by it.


What is done cannot be undone.

There is a difference between giving and forgiving.

He that descended is the same that ascended.

Some appear to make very little difference between decency and indecency, morality and immorality, religion and irreligion.

Remark 4.—There is no better illustration of the nature and importance of emphasis than the following examples. It will be observed that the meaning and proper answer of the question vary with each change of the emphasis.



Did you walk into the city yesterday? No, my brother went.

Did you walk into the city yesterday? No, I rode.

Did you walk into the city yesterday? No, I went into the

country. Did you walk into the city yesterday t No, I went the dag



Sometimes a word is emphasized simply to indicate the importance of the idea. This is called absolute emphasis.


To arms! they come! the Greek! the Greek!
Woe unto you, Pharisees 1 Hypocrites I
Days, months, years, and ages shall circle away.

Remark.—In instances like the last, it is sometimes called the emphasis of specification.


Words are often emphasized in order to exhibit the idea they express as compared or contrasted with some other idea. This is called relative emphasis.


A friend can not be known in prosperity; an enemy can not be hidden in adversity.

It is much better to be injured than to injure.

Remark. — In many instances one part only of the antithesis is expressed, the corresponding idea being understood; as,

A friendly eye would never see such faults.

Here the unfriendly eye is understood.

King Henry exclaims, while vainly endeavoring to compose himself to rest,

"How many thousand of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep!"

Here the emphatic words thousand, subjects, and asleep are contrasted in idea with their opposites, and if the contrasted ideas were expressed it might be in this way:

While I alone, their sovereign, am doomed to wakefulness.


Sometimes several words in succession are emphasized, forming what is called an emphatic phrase.


Shall I, the conqueror of Spain and Gaul, and not only of the Alpine nations but of the Alps themselves — shall I compare myself with this HALF YEAR CAPTAIN?

Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the


And if thou said'st I am not peer
To any lord in Scotland here,
Lowland or Highland, far or near,
Lord Angus — Thou Hast — LIED1


The emphatic expression of a sentence often requires a pause where the grammatical construction authorizes none. This is sometimes called the rhetorical pause. Such pauses occur chiefly before or after an emphatic word or phrase, and sometimes both before and after it.


Rise—fellow-men I our country — yet remains I
By that dread name we wave the sword on high,
And swear for her to livewith her to die.

But most — by numbers judge the poet's song:

And smooth or rough, with them is — right or wrong.

He said; then full before their sight
Produced the beast, and lo!—'twas white.


Modulation includes the variations of the voice. These may be classed under the heads of Pitch, Compass, Quantity, and Quality.


If anyone will notice closely a sentence as uttered in private conversation, he will observe that very few successive words are pronounced in exactly the same key or with the same force. At the same time, however, there is a certain Pitch or key, which seems, on the whole, to prevail.

This keynote, or governing note, as it may be called, is that upon which the voice most frequently dwells, to which it usually returns when wearied, and upon which a sentence generally commences, and very frequently ends, while, at the same time, there is a considerable play of the voice above and below it.

This key may be high or low. It varies in different individuals, and at different times in the same individual, being governed by the nature of the subject and the emotions of the speaker. It is worthy of notice, however, that most speakers pitch their voices on a key too high.

The range of the voice above and below this note is called its Compass. When the speaker is animated, this range is great; but upon abstract subjects, or with a dull speaker, it is small. If, in reading or speaking, too high a note be chosen, the lungs will soon become wearied; if too low a pitch be selected, there is danger of indistinctness of utterance; and in either case there is less room for compass or variety of tone than if one be taken between the two extremes.

To secure the proper pitch and the greatest compass observe the following rule:

Rule XII. — The reader or speaker should choose that pitch in which he can feel himself most at ease, and above and below which he may have most room for variation.

Remark 1. — Having chosen the proper keynote, he should beware of confining himself to it. This constitutes monotony, one of the greatest

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