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I've always pronounced "varies" as /veəˈrɪz/ but recently heard someone say /ˈveərɪz/ in a video. I'm brazilian, so that causes me some confusion as I'm not used to speaking English on a daily basis.

What is it that makes "variety" have its tonic syllable placed differently?

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Verbs don’t change their stress pattern just because they get a 3rd-person singular inflection. Thus since vary is /ˈveri/, varies must be /ˈveriz/.

It always works this way.

In the more complexly tetrasyllabic variety, the first and third vowels are reduced, so /vəˈraɪ.ɪ̈ti/. The same vowels in stressed and unstressed positions are no more apt to be alike in English than they are in Portuguese.

  • I think I've never used the word "vary" before, but if I did before reading this I'd certainly pronounce it /veˈri/. Thanks :) – Bruno Ely Mar 25 '14 at 4:02

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