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'Stress Something' or 'Stress on Something'? | Mastering Grammar

(Last Updated: 29 December 2022)


Stress or Stress On: Which One Is Correct?

Stress can be either a verb or a noun.

As a verb meaning 'to emphasize', it is transitive and therefore takes a direct object:

My parents always stress the importance of a good education.
My parents always stress on the importance of a good education.

The committee stressed the need for more accurate information.
The committee stressed on the need for more accurate information.

You should stress the second syllable in 'machine'.
You should stress on the second syllable in 'machine'.

Stress on something is correct only when stress is used as a noun:

My parents always lay stress on the importance of a good education.

The committee put stress on the need for more accurate information.

You should place stress on the second syllable in 'machine'.


Examples from the Media

Ontario and Quebec laid out their plans for schools Wednesday as they stressed the importance of vaccinations to keep students and educators safe. Toronto Star (2021)

It said clubs in Northern Ireland must stress to players and management teams that '12 April is the earliest date that they may be permitted to resume activity'. BBC (2021)

I was later diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease, a painful condition that occurs during adolescent growth spurts and more often in people who participate in running and jumping sports that put stress on bones and muscles (and caused the bone to protrude from my knee). —The Washington Post (2016)

Nowadays, Eton likes to lay stress on the entrepreneurs it produces (Johnnie Boden), the athletes (Matthew Pinsent), actors (Damian Lewis), successful cultural log-rollers (Jay Jopling) or green activists-lobbyists (Jonathan Porritt). The Guardian (2005)

Practice

In the following sentences, fill in the blanks with stress or stress on.

1. This school lays ________ creativity.

2. Dietitians always ________ the importance of a balanced diet.

3. Inflammation can put ________ the body.

4. Why should we ________ punctuality?

Answer Key

1. stress on    2. stress    3. stress on    4. stress

Recommended Further Reading

'Emphasize Something' or 'Emphasize on Something'?

Real-World Examples of Misuse

1. Etc. is not necessary at the end of a list beginning with e.g. Both imply a partial list naming items from a larger group; therefore, only one is necessary.
2. We can put stress on something, or we can stress it, but we cannot stress on it.

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