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Unit 45. 'I Paid ?200,000 for It.' 'How Much?'

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Repeat Questions


Unit 45; Part A

We use some questions to get people to repeat all or part of what they have said. We may want to check that we heard it correctly, or perhaps we found it surprising. Because these questions are usually making sure (see Unit 43), they ofen have a rising tone.

45.1.jpgSome repeat questions consist of -
  • a single wh- word
    (who, what, where, when, why, how, which)
    A: She used to work in Wollongong. B: WHERE ?
  • a phrase beginning with a wh- word
    (e.g. how many, what sort, what time)
    A: I paid €200,000 for it. B: HOW much ?
  • a longer question beginning with a wh- word
    (e.g. When did you get there?)
    A: It starts at midday. B: WHEN does it start ?

All these repeat questions have a rising tone starting on the wh- word.


When questions are used to find out
(see Unit 43), they have a falling tone. In these finding out questions the falling tone starts afer the wh- word. Compare:
          A: I'll meet you at eight. B: WHAT time ?
(making sure)
but:    A: I'll meet you at the station. B: what TIME ? (finding out)
          A: This parcel's for Mike. B: WHO'S it for ? (making sure)
but:    A: This parcel's arrived. B: who's it FOR ? (finding out)

Unit 45; Part B

In other questions used to check hearing or understanding, we repeat the whole of what was said:
            A: Kathy's getting married again. B: she's getting MARried again ?

or we focus on part of what was said using a wh- word or phrase at the end:
           A: We 're staying with Zara. B: You're staying with WHO ?
           A : There were at least 500 people i n the room. B: There were HOW many ?


We can use what or do + what to focus on the verb or the part of the sentence beginning with the verb:

           A: I bought Chris a rabbit. B: You WHAT ? or: You did WHAT ?

Unit 45; Part C

A number of common phrases with rising tone are used to ask people to repeat. For example:
            I'm SORRy ?   SORRy ?   PARdon ?
            WHAT did you say ?    SAY that aGAIN ?    SAY it aGAIN ?
            WHAT ?    You WHAT ?
(these two are less polite and some people avoid them)

note.jpgNote: Some of these can also be used to find out (with falling tone) :
            A: Zak told me he was leaving. B : WHAT did you SAY ?    ( = What did you say to him?)

 



Exercises

flag.jpgChoose a question from the box to complete each conversation. (You won't need them all.)
Key.(Speaker A = India)
1 HOW much ↑?
2 WHEN do you need it ↑?    $
3 HOW old is it ↑?
4 You did WHAT ↑?
5 HOW far is it ↑?
6 HOW many ↑?
7 WHAT were you looking for ↑? (Note: A spatula is a tool used in cooking, particularly for lifting food out of a pan. It is wide and fat at the end, and not sharp.)
8 WHERE ↑?
9 WHICH one's yours ↑?
10she's doing WHAT ↑? (Note: Abseiling is going down a very steep slope by holding on to a rope. The rope is fastened at the top of the slope.)

 
How many?       What time was it?       She's doing what?       Why was he there?       How much?       Which one's yours?       How old is it?       When did you leave?         What were you looking for?       Who did you want to see?       What sort?     You did what?       How far is it?       Where?       When do you need it?
 

Example: A: I'd like to see Mrs Kirby, please. B:       Who did you want to see?       
              A: Mrs Kirby.
1    A: It only cost me fifty pounds. B: ________________________________
      A: Fifty pounds.
2    A: I need it for Thursday. B:  ________________________________
      A: Thursday.
3    A: It's a couple of centuries old. B: ________________________________
      A: About two hundred years.
4    A: I told him I thought he was stupid. B:     
      A: I said he was stupid.
5    A: It's only another fve kilometres. B: ________________________________
      A: Five kilometres.
6    A: She's got seven sisters. B: ________________________________
      A: Seven.
7    A: I was looking for a spatula. B: ________________________________
      A: A spatula.
8    A: He's got a job in Port Moresby. B: ________________________________
      A: Port Moresby.
9    A: My bike's got the yellow saddle. B: ________________________________
      A: The one with the yellow saddle.
10  A: Margot's going abseiling next weekend. B: ________________________________
      A: Abseiling.

Now listen and check your answers. Press 'pause' before each B part and read aloud what you have written with a rising tone. Then press 'play' again and compare your answer and your pronunciation with what follows.
 
flag.jpgDo you think the questions in these conversations are more likely to have a rising tone (put in the space) or a falling tone ()
Key.(Speaker A = Poland)
The last prominent syllable in each question, where the falling or rising tone starts, is given in capital letters.
1 WHAT did you say? ↑
2 How can you TELL? ↓
3 WHAT sort do you want? ↑
4 WHY doesn't he want to go? ↑
5 WHAT is? ↓
6 How many were THERE? ↓
7 WHO did you buy it for? ↑

Example:  A: The play starts at 7.00. B: When have we got to be there? A: At 6.30.
1    A: She's quite upset, you know. B: What did you say  ___ A: She's quite upset.
2    A: There's a problem with the cooling system. B: How can you tell? ___ A: The engine's overheating.
3    A: I'd like an ice cream. Pistachio favour. B: What sort do you want? ___ Щ A: Pistachio.
4    A: He says he doesn't want to go because of the humidity. B: Why doesn't he want to go? ___ A: Because he doesn't like the humidity.
5    A: I think it's broken. B: What is?  ___ A: The door bell.
6    A: There was a good attendance at the meeting. B: How many were there? ___ A: About 50.
7    A: I've bought this necklace for Jackie. B: Who did you buy it for? ___ A: Jackie.

Now listen and check your answers.

Follow up: The questions with a rising tone in 2 could be said with a fall-rising tone with a similar meaning. Try saying those questions with a fall-rising tone.

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