I recently stumbled upon an interesting quirk regarding words that are both nouns and verbs. They seem to all follow the same stress pattern. Here are a few examples:
- I have a really long address.
- There is a huge contrast between winter and spring.
- Not a single object is blue.
- I’m not very good at creating produce.
- Make sure you address him properly.
- I try to contrast the two twins in my head.
- He will object to any change you propose.
- Produce the paper right this instant!
Why do the nouns have stresses on the first syllable and the verbs have stresses on the last syllable? Is there a good reason for this, or is it just coincidence?
These are just the examples I thought of – I’m sure there are more. There are also some “noun/verb”s that have the same stress:
That was a huge surprise! Next time I’ll surprise you!
But I’ve yet to find a counterexample – one where the noun has an ending stress and the verb has a starting stress.
It does seem to be a common pattern, and has just seemed to “evolve” as such in to English. There’s even a wikipedia page on it: