In addition to the intonation of a statement, there is another aspect of speech that indicates meaning -- phrasing. Have you ever caught just a snippet* of a conversation in your own language, and somehow known how to piece together what came before or after the part you heard? This has to do with your natural understanding of phrasing. In a sentence, phrasing tells you where the speaker is at the moment, where he is going, and if he is finished or not. Notice that the intonation stays on the nouns.
Stress the nouns and let the tone fall at the end of the sentence.
Dogs eat bones.
First half, second half
The first half of a sentence usually sets up the second half.
Dogs eat bones, but cats eat fish.
When you want to preface your statement, use a rising tone.
As we all know, dogs eat bones.
With more than one item in a list, all but the last one have a rising tone.
Dogs eat bones, kibbles and meat.
A regular question goes up (compared with a statement), but drops back down at the end.
Do dogs eat bones?
A repeated, rhetorical or emotional question goes up, and then up again at the end.
Do dogs eat bones?!
*snippet- a small piece of something
Check Your UnderstandingTrue or False. Check your answers below.
1. In a normal sentence, the tone falls at the end.
2. If a sentence has two parts that are similar, usually the rhythm is the same.
3. If a sentence has an introduction, the tone of the introduction goes down.
4. When you list more that one item, the last word has a rising tone.
5. On a regular question, the tone of the sentence goes up and then down a little.
6. When you repeat a question, the tone on the end goes up.