Word emphasis can have a tremendous effect on meaning. Note the difference between these (try reading them out loud, with the boldfaced word emphasized):

I never said he stole my chickens.
I never said he stole my chickens.
I never said he stole my chickens.
I never said he stole my chickens.
I never said he stole my chickens.
I never said he stole my chickens.
I never said he stole my chickens.

Emphasis is an amazing part of everyday speech. Word choice and word pronunciation provide most of the understanding, or miscommunication in all speech. Like body language, the tone, structure and emphasis of a word or phrase gives off the meaning behind the phrase, whether it be somber or satirical.

This is one of the biggest problems with language.

As in dmd's write-up above, the choice of emphasis changes the entire meaning of the piece.

This is where relationship problems occur. If girls were able to express their feelings and meanings, and boys were able to say what they actually meant instead of partial sentances in between thoughts. Then girls would understand their desires, and boys were able to understand completely what girls meant, imagine what a world it would be!

Em"pha*sis (?), n.; pl. Emphases (#). [L., fr. Gr. significance, force of expression, fr. to show in, indicate; in + to show. See In, and Phase.]

1. Rhet.

A particular stress of utterance, or force of voice, given in reading and speaking to one or more words whose signification the speaker intends to impress specially upon his audience.

The province of emphasis is so much more important than accent, that the customary seat of the latter is changed, when the claims of emphasis require it. E. Porter.

2.

A peculiar impressiveness of expression or weight of thought; vivid representation, enforcing assent; as, to dwell on a subject with great emphasis.

External objects stand before us . . . in all the life and emphasis of extension, figure, and color. Sir W. Hamilton.

 

© Webster 1913.

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