-ate Part 3: Watch out for hidden -ate

If you have already read Part 1 & Part 2 about –ate, then you already know that you should not put stress on the –ate ending. The tricky part is that sometimes the –ate is not at the end of a word — it may be hidden by a suffix added after it. But even when it is hidden, you still need to follow the rule of not stressing it.

In the following examples, the –ate is not at the end of the new words, but the stress is still controlled by the –ate, which means that the stress falls 2 syllables before it.

elevate + or = elevator (don’t say: eleVAtor)
complicate + ed = complicated (not: compliCAted)
evaporate + ing = evaporating
accurate + ness = accurateness
deliberate + ly = deliberately

But watch out! There are other suffixes which do control stress, and overrule the –ate rule. The most common is –tion. This suffix moves the stress to the syllable just before itself. So, the word educate + tion = education, and evaporate + tion = evaporation. This -tion pattern makes it seem like the -ate is taking the stress.

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About Pronunciation Coach
I am a language teacher, with over 20 years of experience teaching ESL & Spanish.

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