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Unit 44. Wasn't It Terrible? Are You Crazy?

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Questions (2)

Unit 44; Part A

Questions are ofen used to make a comment or exclamation rather than to find out or check information. An answer is not necessarily expected.

Negative yes-no questions are commonly used to show surprise, pleasure, etc., particularly when we encourage others to agree with us. These usually have a falling tone:

          WASn't it TERrible ?    DIDn't she sound riDICulous ?
          HAVen't I been STUpid ?    AREN'T they BEAUtiful ?


In informal English we can also use positive yes-no questions, particularly to express criticism. These often have a rising tone:

         Are you CRAzy ?    Have you gone MAD ?

Wh- questions are also used to make a comment, particularly ones with modal verbs. These usually have a falling tone:

         HOW was I supposed to know ?    WHAT'S it to do with YOU ?

Unit 44; Part B

Sometimes we ask a question and suggest a possible answer ourselves before the hearer replies. As the purpose of these possible answers is to make sure that what we think we know is correct, they usually have a fall-rising tone (see Unit 43):
               Where are you off to? The SUpermarket ?
               How are you getting there? with NICola
?
               What are you going to wear? NOT that old JUMper again
?
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Unit 44; Part C

We can use questions to give instructions or make suggestions. These usually have a falling tone, and often (but not always) include modal verbs:
            will you PLEASE leave it aLONE ?    COULD we have the BILL, please ?
            WOULD you turn the LIGHT off
?       COULDn't you just reFUSE ?
            WHY don't you go by TRAIN
?           HOW about putting it over THERE ?

 



Exercises

flag.jpgDo you think the questions in B's responses are more likely to have a rising tone (put , in the box) or a falling tone ()?
Key.(Speaker A = Australia)
1 ↑
2 ↓
3 ↑
4 ↓
5 ↑
6 ↓
7 ↑
8 ↓
9 ↓
10↑

Example: A: I thought Madrid played brilliantly. B: Weren't they amazing?
1    A: I've just got a job in Alaska. B: Are you serious? ___
2    A: I don't think any of these jackets will fit. B: How about this one? ___
3    A: You didn't tell your parents what you're going to do, did you? B: Certainly not. Do you think I'm stupid? ___
4    A: Great weather we're having. B: Isn't it fantastic? ___
5    A: So did you lend Barry your motorbike? B: Barry! Are you out of your mind? ___
6    A: Where do you want me to go? B: Can you stand over there? ___
7    A: What do you think of my new skirt? B: You can't go out dressed like that. Have you no shame? ___
8    A: Roz's exam results were good, weren't they? B: Didn't she do well? ___
9    A: The match is on TV tonight. B: Who cares? ___
10  A: David looks awful. B: Do you mind? ___ That's my brother you're talking about.

Now listen and check your answers. Then listen again. Press 'pause' before each B part and read it aloud. Then press 'play' again and compare your pronunciation with what follows. 
flag.jpgChoose an answer from the box to complete each conversation.
Key.(Speaker В = Spain)
The last prominent syllable in each part, where the falling or fall-rising tone starts on the recording, is given in capital letters.
1 when are they supposed to be BACK ↓? This EVEning ↓↑?
2 where's she LIVing now ↓? with her PArents ↓↑?
3 How many of your cousins have you inVIted ↓? ALL of them ↓↑?
4 Why did you do such a silly THING ↓? Because your friends TOLD you to ↓↑?
5 How much of the assignment have you written so FAR ↓? ANy of it ↓↑?
6 what's wrong with your MOTHer ↓? Nothing SErious ↓↑?
7 which doctor did you want to SEE ↓? Dr IREland ↓↑?
 
All of them      A cake      Any of it      This evening      Dr Ireland     Because your friends told you to      With her parents       Nothing serious
 
Example: A: What are you making?   A cake  ?
                B: Yes, it's for Linda's birthday.
1    A: When are they supposed to be back? _________________?
      B: I think so.
2    A: Where's she living now? _________________?
      B: Yes, since last month.
3    A: How many of your cousins have you invited? _________________?
      B: Just a few.
4    A Why did you do such a silly thing? _________________?
      B: I'm really sorry.
5    A: How much of the assignment have you written so far? _________________?
      B: A couple of pages.
6    A: What's wrong with your mother? _________________?
      B: No, she'll be fine soon.
7    A: Which doctor did you want to see? _________________?
      B: Yes, please, if he's free.

Now listen and check your answers. Then listen again. Press 'pause' before each A part and read it aloud. Use a falling tone in the first question and a fall-rising tone in the possible answer. Then press 'play' again and compare your pronunciation with what follows.
Example:
What are you making ? A cake ?

Follow up: Here are some more common short questions usually said with a falling tone. Do you know what they mean? What for? How come? Why not? What's up? So what?

 
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Unit 43      Unit 44     Unit 45 forward.jpg