Unlike combat, the verb-noun ‘combine‘ has come under no pressure to extinguish the stress difference between its noun and verb forms. Mispronunciations are rare (and perhaps nonexistent).

The verb has the stress on the second syllable:

Com-bine’. (v)

Platform 22, Floyd County Public Arts’ first project, combines history, education, and fine art in a series of 11 art installations located in nine public parks and two public buildings. – News and Tribune

Then there is the elegant noun, with stress on the first syllable, describing a common piece of farm equipment:

Com’bine. (n)

Scott Short of Sycamore drives past corn and soybean fields every day, but until Saturday, he had never been inside a tractor or a combine.

It’s true.

On Oct. 21, Short and about 80 others took combine rides coordinated by the DeKalb County Farm Bureau. Three local farmers, Vince Faivre of DeKalb, Steve Bemis of DeKalb and Rob Wessels of Waterman, allowed passengers to ride along in their combine cab to get a firsthand look at corn harvesting. – Daily Chronicle

Then there is another use of the noun, to denote a group ‘acting together for a commercial purpose’, again with the stress on the first syllable:

Obi Melifonwu left no doubts about his athleticism on the final day of the NFL Scouting Combine. The former UConn safety broad-jumped 11 feet, 9 inches and recorded a 44-inch vertical jump on Monday, marks that were the best of the combine. –


The verb ‘overlook‘ has nothing to do with the noun ‘overlook‘.

Over-look’. (v) Fail to notice.

Even though we were the first customers at 6:30 on a Saturday night, we were basically overlooked or forgotten. – Wisconsin State Journal

Anonymity can be sad, so sad. Meanwhile, the accepted definition for the noun may seem grandiose.

Over’look. (n) A commanding position or view.

Tennessee Tourism officials have installed viewfinders at three scenic spots, including one here in the Tri-Cities region, to help colorblind people see the fall foliage for the first time. The viewfinders were debuted on Wednesday, including one at the westbound Interstate 26 overlook near Erwin. – WJHL

Of course the two forms can be artfully combined.

Overlook at Mile High is overlooked no more. For one thing, the 476-unit Overlook at Mile High is the largest apartment community in the area west of downtown Denver. – Colorado Real Estate Journal

Maybe this is what we should expect from a real estate journal.


We won’t bother with the adjectival form of perfect, it is everywhere. Let’s jump right to the verb.

UC Berkeley will conduct research to perfect a microbial factory for the compound artemisinin, currently the most effective treatment for malaria. – UC Berkeley News

Per-fect’. (v) To improve or refine.

Brendan Gleeson has told RTÉ Entertainment that several takes were needed to perfect scenes in Paddington 2, and admits it was challenging trying to “keep the energy up” during filming. – RTE

It seems that the verb is almost always in its infinitive form: ‘to perfect‘ something or other. Perhaps it appears otherwise, but we stopped looking.

Zhang, 25, has been working to perfect her English for several years and now speaks the language with little difficulty. – China Daily


Combat, the noun, has the stress on the first syllable.

Com’bat. (n)
First, military training and exposure to combat does not create the wacko battle-scarred soldier so often depicted by Hollywood, nor does it translate into criminal behavior. – Albuquerque Journal

Combat, the verb, has stress on . . . either syllable. It is tempting to get all purist here and insist on stressing the second syllable in the verb, but both forms have been widely adopted.

Com’bat. (v)
Com-bat’. (v)
A beefed-up corporate law enforcement unit, a new anti-fraud agency and more efficient criminal cases are among a suite of measures to be introduced to combat white-collar crime. –Irish Examiner

For combat, the verb, the stress distinction may be heading for extinction.

Initial-stress derivation

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