In order to account for the accentual and rhythmical structure of English, a binary-branching prosodic constituent structur is assumed, in which minimally the syllable and the foot must be headed. Feet are potentially marked as accented. This representation makes it possible to describe the prominence patterns of word groups as resulting from three accent deletion rules, the Compound Rule, the Initial Accent Deletion Rule and the Rhythm Rule. It was shown that the structural change effected by Initial Accent Deletion cannot be expressed in theories which represent stress as a relative concept. Moreover, this rule, which like the Compound rule is a lexical rule, provided evidence for the existence of a stratum in the lexical phonology of English in which compounding and so-called ClassII derivation take place. The Rhythm Rule is a postlexical rule, which was shown to apply to the output of the other two rules. Without the aid of any conditions or constraints, it accounted effortlessly for the stress-shift data presented in the recent literature. It could moreover be shown that apparent cases of stress shift in unaccented speech (in which the Rhythm Rule does not apply) should not in fact be viewed as the output of any stress-shift rule at all, but should be explained as the effect of preboundary lengthening as applying to the different constituents in the prosodic hierarchy. It was argued that an analysis of sentence accentuation whereby focused constituents have to be assigned accents can run into problems that do not exist in a ‘deaccenting’ analysis, in which nonfocused constituents are deprived of their accents. Finally, it was argued that English, unlike Dutch, lacks phonological rules that refer to primary word stress, and that, at best, primary stress may reveal itself in low-level timing distinctions.