Our clients who speak English as a Second Language (ESL) and are enrolled in accent modification training are often are perplexed by pronunciation RULES. How do we pronounce “-ate” when it appears at the end of a word? We've covered this in our RULES student workbook, but let’s look at more examples. The World Dictionary defines the “-ate” suffix in the following manner: For adjectives, it is used to denote the appearance or characteristics of the noun, e.g., fortunate. For nouns, it denotes an office, rank, or group with certain functions, e.g., senate, electorate. These words can also become verbs, e.g., separate, graduate, liberate.
The pronunciation changes according to the part of speech. The same word that can be used as a noun/adjective or a verb, but is stressed or pronounced differently and has a different meaning, is called a heteronym. Check our video on two and three syllable heteronyms.
For all of the three and four syllable words ending in “-ate,” place the primary stress on the first syllable, regardless of the part of speech. However, for nouns or adjectives, the last syllable is not stressed and it is pronounced as “it.” For verbs, the last syllable has secondary stress and is pronounced as “ate.”
Some of the words below are heteronyms and will be indicated with an asterisk.*
VERBS – pronounce the last syllable as “ate”
liberate equivocate corroborate integrate
indicate interrogate appreciate hesitate
segregate alleviate ameliorate hibernate
meditate terminate germinate elongate
aggravate participate concentrate communicate
translate anticipate hyphenate relegate
depreciate discriminate proliferate disseminate
dominate* conjugate* laminate* coordinate*
subordinate* graduate* estimate* syndicate*
separate* moderate* delegate* elaborate*
ADJECTIVES OR NOUNS- pronounce the last syllable as “it”
intimate fortunate inordinate electorate
consulate passionate separate* moderate*
indiscriminate elaborate* coordinate* graduate*
estimate* syndicate* delegate* duplicate*
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