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Emphatic Constructions

Most sentences have a definite intonation pattern, but in a live conversation, speakers can choose to put the stress in any place. This is like underlining words in writing; we do this to put emphasis on words.

Ex.15 Read this conversation. Which words the speaker will 'underline' for emphasis and underline them in the text. You are told which lines have no underlining. Listen and check (C41)

A: I will not pass. (No underline)

B: You will pass.

 A: You'll pass.

B: I do not know. (No underline)

A: You will not fail.

B: I might fail.

A: I will fail.

B: The exam's not hard. (No underline)

A: It's very hard.

B: But not too hard.

A: Too hard for me.

B: But you're very clever! (No underline)

A: You're the clever one.

B: Yes, I suppose you're right.

The speaker may emphasize the new information in the sentence. Listen to these two short conversations. A's question shows that she does not know anything about where B comes from. C's question shows that she knows he comes from India, so when B says 'South India', he underlines 'South' because this is added information. (C44)

A: Where are you from?

B: South India.

C: Which part of India are you from?

B: South India.

Ex.16 The answers to the pairs of questions are the same, but the speaker puts stress on a different word in each answer. Read the questions and underline the words the speaker will put stress on. Then listen and check. (C46)

EXAMPLE: a) What's your name? b) What's your full name, Ms Vettori?

Clara Vettori.Clara Vettori.

1. a) Do you live in Milan? b) Do you live near Milan?

Near Milan, yes. Near Milan, yes.

2. a) What do you do? b) What kind of designer are you?

I'm a graphic designer. I'm a graphic designer.

3. a) Do you have your own home? b) Do you have a nice flat?

Yes, a very nice flat. Yes, a very nice flat.

4. a) What do you do in the evenings? b) Do you speak French?

Well, I'm learning French. Well, I'm learning French.

5. a) Do you know London? b) You lived in London, did not you?

 Yes, I lived there for a year. Yes, I lived there for a year.

6. a) Do you have brothers or sisters? b) You have brothers, do not you?

Yes, two brothers. Yes, two brothers.

7. a) What kind of music do you like? b) Which do you prefer, jazz or classical?

I like jazz and classical. I like jazz and classical.

Ex.17 The sentences in the contexts are the same, but with different pronunciation. You will hear each sentence twice, once for context a and once for context b. Listen and decide which you hear first. (C51)


a) I think that's my bag. b) I think that's my bag.

She's not completely sure that it's her bag. Another person is picking up her bag

1. a) Is that your phone? b) Is that your phone?

He can hear an electronic sound from He can see somebody's mobile phone on the seat.

someone's pocket.

2. a) Is your seat 29 F? b) Is your seat 29 F?

She's not sure she heard the number correctly. She's not sure she heard the letter correctly.

3. a) Is there a bank in this terminal? b) Is there a bank in this terminal?

He knows there is a bank in the other terminal but He's looking for a bank.

not if there is one in this terminal.

4. a) Where's the women's toilet? b) Where's the women's toilet?

She's looking for the toilet. She can see the men's toilet, but not the women's.

The word we choose to underline can change the meaning of our sentence. Listen to these sentences in two different ways and see the different meanings in the pictures. (C54)

Do you want the hamburger with chips, or salad? Do you want the hamburger with chips or salad?

 or  or +

Would you like chicken with vegetables, Would you like chicken with vegetables

or Russian salad? or Russian salad?

 or  or +

Ex.18 Listen. Which choice is the waiter offering first: a or b? Write a-b or b-a. (Ñ57)

1. Would you like peaches or strawberries with cream?

a. +  or  b.  or

2. Would you like tea with lemon or milk?

a.  or  b.  or

3. Would you like sausage or bacon and eggs?

a.  or  b.  or +

Letters and sounds

Consonants: [? - ?]

To make the sound [?]: Put your tongue between your teeth. Blow the air out between your tongue and your top teeth

To make the sound [?]: Follow the instructions above, use your voice.

Ex.1 Listen and repeat.


earth thanks birthday maths athlete

author thought


weather clothes breathe sunbathe together

feather mother and father

Ex.2 Listen and repeat the words paying special attention to sounds [? - ?].

 mouse - mouth

 sum - thumb

 sick - thick

 tree -  free - three

 tin -fin  - thin

 bays - bathe

 close - clothe

 breeze - breathe

Ex.3 Practise saying the tongue twisters.

 A thousand thanks to you both.

 I have a thousand and one things to ask you.

 I can think of six thin things,

Six thin things. Can you?

Yes, I can think of six thin things

 And of six thick things, too.

 This fish and that fish

This fish has a thin fin,

That fish has a fat fin,

This fish is a fish

That has a thinner fin than that fish.

Ex.4 Think of a computer which people speak into and it writes what they say. This computer wrote these sentences down wrongly. Correct the underlined mistakes.

EXAMPLE It's free o'clock. __three___

  1. A bat is more relaxing than a shower. _________
  2. The train went true the tunnel. ___________
  3. Do not walk on the ice; it's very fin. _________
  4. You need a sick coat in winter. __________
  5. I do not know; I have not fought about it. __________
  6. It's a matter of life and deaf. __________

Ex.5 Find a way from Start to Finish. You may pass a square only if the word in it has the sound [?]. You can move horizontally or vertically only.


 north  northern  either  weather  breathe  those
 south  bath  bathe  thought  breath  youth
 southern  third  their  through  though  thumb
 Thailand  cloth  path  fifth  with  worth
 month  clothes  these  brother  that  teeth
 throw  thing  author  other  they  wealth


Ex.6 Complete the rhyme using words from the box. Then listen and check (A82).

Arthur had a __brother___ They wanted was a _______________.

And he did not want _another_. So Arthur's mother ________________

And of the brothers, __________ Got them both ___________________.

Wanted sisters _______________. And told them all good _____________

The last thing on this _____________ Should learn to share their ___________.

Vowels: [?]

To make the sound [?]: This is a neutral sound, your tongue and lips should be relaxed.

In words with two or more syllables, at least one syllable is weak (not stressed). In weak syllables English speakers pronounce the neutral sound [?].

Ex 7. Listen and repeat the phrases which have the neutral sound.

a photograph of Barbara ? phot?graph ?f Barb?r?

a glass of water ? glass ?f wat?

a pair of binoculars ? pair ?f binocul?s

a photograph of her ? phot?graph ?f h?

mother and father moth? ?nd fath?

a book about ? book ?bout

South America South ?meric?

Listen to these examples and repeat them. The weak vowels in the unstressed syllables in bold are pronounced [?] (A29)

Weak A: away banana woman sugar

Weak E: garden paper under

Weak O: police doctor correct

Weak U: support figure colour

Ex 8. Listen to the phrases and sentences, in each of them there are two vowels which are not neutral. Underline them. (A32)

EXAMPLE an apple and a banana

1. from Canada to China

2. The parrot was asleep.

3. The cinema was open.

4. the photographer's assistant

5. a question and an answer

6. a woman and her husband

7. a pasta salad

Weak vowels in unstressed syllables can also be pronounced as [?]. Listen to these examples and repeat them (A30).

Weak A: orange cabbage

Weak E: dances wanted begin women

Weak I: music walking

Weak U: lettuce minute

Ex 9. Write the words in the correct part of the table. Then listen and check. (A33)

 vowel in weak syllable = [?]  vowel in weak syllable = [?]
woman orange

Ex 10. Listen and underline the word you hear. (A34)

1. What time did the woman / women arrive?

2. Where's Kate's dress / address?

3. The team manager's / manages well.

4. The German teacher's / teaches English.

5. The weight's / waiter's heavy.

6. The woman dancer's / dances fast.

7. The officer's / office's here.

8. Take that away / way.

9. What a nice driver / drive!

10. The racer's / races finished.

 Samara State Aerospace University |  Compiled by Veronika Stychkova |  Introduction |  Can you imagine that? |  Kiki can not take a joke. |  Come! Come! Come now! |  Is it as easy as that? |  What a lot of nonsense! |  Stress in Compound Words |  Quoting speech |

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