What is “word stress”? In English and other languages, each word has one syllable that is articulated more strongly than the others (assuming the word has more than one syllable, of course!). I feel that this is more important than the correct pronunciation of sounds in English (phonemes). I have no problem understanding a New Zealander who says the word “apple” with an ‘e’ sound (EPPle), whereas I would find it difficult to understand someone who said “apPUHL”.
Practise saying the words below with the correct stress. Whenever you write down a new word to learn, be sure to mark the stress point. Dictionaries usually put a kind of apostrophe before the stressed syllable. For example the word “divide” would have a phonetic transcription like this: [dI’vaid]