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Unit 33. That Could be the Man.

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Unstressed Words

Unit 33; Part A

All of the sentences below have three syllables with this stress pattern: OoO. The middle word in each sentence is unstressed because it is not as important as the other two words. Listen.

 O  o  O

What's  
Tom
Dogs
Close
Wait
Go

your    
was
can
the
and
to
name?
right.
swim.
door!
see.
bed!

Unit 33; Part B

 These are the kinds of words which are not normally stressed, with example words from the sentences in A above.

pronouns (your)
the verb be (was)
auxiliary verbs (can)
articles (the)
conjunctions (and, or)
prepositions (to)

note.jpgNote: Negative auxiliary verbs (can't, don't, hasn't, etc.) are usually stressed. See Unit 32.

 
 
idea.jpgImportant for listening!
There may be more than one of these unstressed words between two stressed words. In the sentences below, each sentence has the same two stressed words with an increasing number of unstressed words between. Listen. Notice that the length of time between the two stressed words is about the same, however many unstressed words are fitted between.
10.jpg
 
 
note.jpgNote: Speakers can choose to put stress on words which are normally unstressed. They do this for emphasis or contrast. (See Unit 49.)

 



Exercises

flag.jpgGive the stress patterns for these sentences.
Key.1. OoO    2. OooO    3. OO    4. OoooO    5. OoO
Example: Go to the shops.    OooO     
1    Go to school.        
2    Where was the key?
3    Tell John.    
4    What was in the news?
5    Whats your name?
flag.jpgPut one of the unstressed words from the box in the middle of each phrase or sentence below. Then say the phrases or sentences with this stress pattern: OoO.
Key. 1 it         2 a   
3 are      4 can   
5 of        6 or   
7 some   8 my

 
or       my        a        it       can       some       of       are
 

1   Bring __________ here!               
2   Mel's __________ nurse.
3   Whales __________ big.
4   Jane __________ drive.
5    Lots __________ eggs.
6    Pass __________ fail?
7    Have __________ bread.
8    Where's __________ bike?
flag.jpgListen. How many unstressed words are there between the stressed words in each sentence? Write 0, 1, 2 or 3.
Key.1. Eat some cheese 1
2. That was the man. 2
3. What was his name? 2
4. What for? 0
5. Go to the shops 2
6. Go home! 0
7. Turn to the right 2

Example:
      Drink .... milk.  3  
1    Eat ... cheese.       
2    That ...  man.      
3    What ... name?         
4    What ... for?  
5    Go ... shops.    
6    Go ...  home    
7    Turn ... right 
flag.jpgComplete each set of four sentences with the unstressed words given. Each sentence should have one more unstressed word than the sentence before, so that the four sentences have the same pattern as in the example. Then listen, check and repeat.
Key.1. Drink milk.
Drink some milk. / Drink the milk.
Drink it with milk.
Drink some of the milk. / Drink it with the milk. / Drink it with some milk.
2.  Turn right.
Turn it right.
Turn to the right.
Turn it to the right.

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