Decrease

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While there is normally a difference in the pronunciation of the noun and the verb increase, at least in British English, its opposite decrease is more variable.

  • As a verb, decrease has the stress on the second syllable: to 'de-KREES', IPA: /də (or iː) ˈkriːs/.
  • The noun is pronounced with the stress either on the second syllable, identically to the verb; or with the stress on the first syllable, 'DEE-krees', IPA: /ˈdiː kriːs/.
Note
This pattern of shifting stress in words that look identical but belong to two separate word classes is quite common in English.
Quirk (1985) (Appendix I.56 B) describes the most common: "When verbs of two syllables are converted into nouns, the stress is sometimes shifted from the second to the first syllable. The first syllable, typically a Latin prefix, often has a reduced vowel /ə/ in the verb but a full vowel in the noun: He was con-VICT-ed (IPA: /kən ˈvɪkt ɪd/) of theft, and so became a CON vict (IPA: /ˈkɒn vɪkt/)" [AWE's rendition of IPA].
There follows a list of some 57 "words having end-stress as verbs but initial stress as nouns in Br[itish] E[nglish]." Note that "in Am[erican] E[nglish], many have initial stress as verbs also". Quirk's list is the foundation of AWE's category:shift of stress. Additions have been made from, amongst others, Fowler, 1926-1996.