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Unit 40. They Taste Great, These Biscuits.

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Tails

Unit 40; Part A

In informal spoken English, tails are sometimes used at the end of a sentence to emphasise or make clearer what we have just said. We ofen use them when we give an evaluation of something:
         It's a really good PHOto , THAT one .
      She's a JUDGE , my AUNT .
                                                     ↑
                                                   tail
                                            ↑
                                           tail

Tails consist of a noun or a noun phrase. They usually have a rising tone because they are referring to or expanding on something that has been said before
(see Unit 39).

Unit 40; Part B

Some tails consist of this, that, these or those or a phrase beginning with one of these words. These tails usually emphasise what we are saying:
        They're all we've got LEFT , THOSE two .
        They taste GREAT
, these BIScuits .
        It's BEAUtiful
, THIS part of the COUNtry .
        It says here that they're going to put up a new town hall. INteresting
, THAT .

Unit 40; Part C

Other tails make clear who or what we are referring to:
         He's a good COOK , Nlgel .   ( = Nigel is a good cook)
         She's really STRICT , the headTEAcher .
         I can't STAND it , cigarETE smoke .   ( = I can't stand cigarette smoke)
         That's MY hat , the ONE you're WEAring .
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Unit 40; Part D

 
idea.jpgImportant for listening!
Another type of tail also with a rising tone. repeats the subject + verb in order to reinforce what we have just said. It is similar to a tag (see Unit 41), and is used mainly in very informal speech:
          A: Maybe you could borrow the money from your brother?
          B: No, he's incredibly MEAN , HE is .

                                                       subject + verb
          A: Do you know those people over there?
          B: Yeah, they LIVE near me
, THEY do

                                                       subject + verb
 

Unit 40; Part E

Some other tails usually have a falling tone; for example, a tail added to a wh- question in order to clarify who or what the question refers to:
        What time's it ON , this SHOW ?
        How OLD is she  
, your DAUGHter ?

 



Exercises

flag.jpgMatch the sentence beginnings and the tails.
Key.1 It's so boring ↓, tennis ↑.
2 I think it's gone off ↓, this cream ↑.
3 I took them myself ↓, most of these photos ↑.
4 That's my coat ↓, the one with the fur collar ↑.
5 They're a bit unfriendly ↓, our neighbours ↑.
6 It's really annoying ↓, that dripping tap ↑.
7 They're quite similar ↓, those two shirts ↑.
8 She was the first one in our family to go to university ↓, my sister ↑.


1    It's so boring,       
2    I think it's gone off,        
3    I took them myself,        
4    That's my coat,        
5    They're a bit unfriendly,        
6    It's really annoying,        
7    They're quite similar,        
8    She was the first one in our family to go to university,    
___ this cream.
___ those two shirts.
___ most of these photos.
___ my sister.
  1   tennis.
___ that dripping tap.
___ the one with the fur collar.
___ our neighbours.

Now listen and check your answers. Then say the full sentences aloud, making sure you use a rising tone on the tail and a falling tone before it.
Example: It's so boring , tennis
flag.jpgDo you think the tails in these sentences are likely to have a rising tone (put in the box) or a falling tone ?
Key.1 ↓
2 ↓
3 ↑
4 ↑
5 ↓
6 ↓
7 ↑

Example: They're all over the kitchen, those beetles.
1    Where's it being held, Friday's concert? ___
2    What's it like, this cheese? ___
3    It can be dangerous, skiing. ___
4    It's made from Thai silk, Vicky's dress. ___
5    When are they coming, Frank and Gill? ___
6    How much did you pay for them, these tickets? ___
7    It's not a great day for us to meet, Sunday. ___

Now listen and check your predictions. Then say the sentences aloud.

Follow up: Imagine you are being shown around a house that is for sale. Using sentences with tails, think of five criticisms and five compliments you might make. For example: 'It's very small, the garden'; 'It's nicely decorated, the sitting room'.


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