Stress refers to the degree of vocal force used in pronouncing a syllable, a word, a phrase, or words in a sentence. Putting the stress in the wrong place can change its meaning.
Rule 1 'Core' vocabulary : There is a strong tendency to put the stress on the first syllable for core vocabulary whether they be adjectives or nouns.
Examples: 'government 'prejudice 'difficult 'sentence 'statute 'damage
Rule 2 Prefixes: Two - and three- syllable words with prefixes such as 'un-', 'dis-'. 'in-', 'sub-', 'pre-', etc. almost always have the stress on the second or third syllable, i.e. prefixes are not stressed in English words.
Examples: incom'patible sub'mission pre'amble disap'prove com'mit under'stand
Rule 3 Suffixes : As with prefixes, there is a similar tendency - suffixes are never stressed.
Examples: extra'dition crimi'nality modifi'cation responsi'bility incom'patible
Rule 4 Verbs/nouns: The stress is usually on the first syllable for nouns and on the second syllable for verbs.
Examples: (nouns) 'advocate 'convict 'contract 'protest 'conduct (verbs) advo'cate con'vict con'tract pro'test con'duct