Unit 51. How Embarrassing!
|When we want to give our opinion on something that has been said or
done, we can do this with particular emphasis, often to express
enthusiasm, using an adjective. Typically, this has a rise-falling tone:
A: Dan got the job! B: GREAT ↑↓
A: It's incredible to think that it's over 100 years old. B: AMAzing ↑↓!
A: Sounds really good , doesn't it? B: FanTAStic ↑↓!
However, when adjectives like this have a low falling tone, they can be used in a sarcastic way. A positive word is used, but in fact expresses lack of enthusiasm, disappointment, or criticism:
A: The fight's been cancelled.
A: The computer's crashed again.
B: WONderful ↓.
We can also use an adjective with a rise-falling tone to express surprise at what has been said:
A: Jack's just bought a new car. It's pink.
B: PINK ↑↓
A: This cheese is frozen.
B: FROzen ↑↓
|Adjectives like this can also be used with a rise-falling tone as part of longer phrases, ofen emphasised with adverbs such as absolutely, completely and totally:
A: They're stupid to close the school. B: ABsolutely riDICulous ↑↓.
A: Karl's given up his college course. B: He must be comPLEtely MAD ↑↓.
A: Were the instructions any good? B: They were TOtally incompreHENsible ↑↓.
Some are also used in exclamations after how:
HOW emBARrassing ↑↓!
HOW COOL ↑↓! ( = very good; informal)
|Nouns and phrases without adjectives may also be used to express
surprise, anger, etc., typically with a rise-falling tone. Sometimes
these repeat a part of what was previously said:
You're JOking ↑↓
A: They've got diamonds in them. B: DIAmonds ↑↓!
|Notice that the word really can
have different meanings, depending on the tone used with it. For
example, with a rise-falling tone it often expresses surprise, but with
a rising tone it often expresses doubt:
A: It only cot me €10. В: REALly ↑↓! (= I'm surprised)
B: REALly ↑? (= I'm not sure I believe you)
|Listen and decide whether B uses a rise-falling tone or a low falling tone in each response. Underline ↑↓ or ↓. In which responses is B being enthusiastic?
Key.(Speaker A = Scotland)
2 ↑↓ (enthusiastic)
6 ↑↓ (enthusiastic)
7 ↑↓ (enthusiastic)
Example: A: You had a good time, then. B: Superb! ↑↓ / ↓ enthusiastic
1 A: I can't find the tickets. B: Brilliant! ↑↓ / ↓
2 A: The house had a well in the kitchen. B: Extraordinary! ↑↓ / ↓
3 A: That's the third red bus I've seen today. B: Fascinating! ↑↓ / ↓
4 A: Dan's coming over at six. B: Great! ↑↓ / ↓
5 A: Kate's just phoned to say she'll be late. B: Marvellous! ↑↓ / ↓
6 A: She speaks 14 languages. B: Remarkable! ↑↓ / ↓
7 A: These beetles glow in the dark. B: Interesting! ↑↓ / ↓
Now listen again. Press 'pause' before each B part and read it aloud, using the tone you have underlined. Then press 'play' again and compare your pronunciation with what follows.
|Choose the most likely adjective from the box to complete each conversation.
Key.(Speaker A = Japan)
1 A: There's a coffee shop right next door. B: How ______________!
2 A: Were you shocked by the news? B: Totally ______________!
3 A: This heater isn't much good. B: Completely ______________!
4 A: His paintings are weird, aren't they? B: Totally ______________!
5 A: How did you find the heat in Malaysia? B: Completely ______________!
6 A: The view from here is fantastic. B: Absolutely ______________!
Now listen and check your answers. Press 'pause' before each B part and read it aloud. Make sure you use a rise-falling tone on the words you have written.
|You will hear five statements. After each statement, press 'pause'
and say one of the responses in the box. Make sure you use a
rise-falling tone. When you press 'play' again you will hear the
correct answer. (Note: Other responses than those on the recording are
You respond ToMORrow ↑↓!
You will hear ten statements. Respond to each statement using the
word 'Really' Express surprise (with a rise-falling tone) or doubt
(with a rising tone) as indicated.
Now listen to both the statements and responses on the recording.
||Unit 50 Unit 51 Unit 52||