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Unit 57. We Expected Profits to Drop, but They Rose.

Step-ups - Contrasts and New Topics

Unit 57; Part A

We can use a step-up (see Unit 47) to a relatively high pitch to show that information contrasts with previous information or what was expected. The step-up is in the first prominent word of a speech unit (see Unit 32) which includes the contrasting information. In these examples step-ups are marked with
           We expected profits to drop this quarter, 
           //but they
ROSE by a THIRD//. - a contrast between an expected drop and an actual rise

          Patients are now encouraged// to EXercise//
          instead of rest after their operations.
- a contrast between the past encouragement to rest and the new practice of encouraging exercise

         Although many people think of ants as a nuisance,
         they play// a
VItal ROLE// in many ecosystems. - a contrast between the common belief that they are a nuisance and their actual vital role

         We know that vegetarians have low rates of heart disease,//
         but we
DON'T fully understand WHY//. - a contrast between what we know to be the case and our lack of understanding
         Rather than wait for the authorities to solve the problem,// we should
ACT NOW//. - a contrast between waiting and acting now

Unit 57; Part B

New topics
Step-ups are also used, particularly in prepared speech, to show that we are starting a new topic. Here is the beginning of a speech made by a senior manager from the car company Rovoda to a conference of scientists discussing environmental problems. Notice how step-ups are used at the beginning of new topics:



flag.jpgPut a before the word in each sentence you think is most likely to have a step-up signalling a contrast.

Example: We didn't think the bid would be successful, but it's been accepted.
1    She always said it was her best film, although the critics hated it.
2    Rather than a military solution, we should be looking for a political one.
3    Some plastics are easy to produce, but difficult to dispose of.
4    Instead of a quick resolution to the war, their tactics prolonged it.
5    Most people think he's French, but in fact he's from Canada.
6    The model weighs only four kilos, whereas the full-scale version will weigh four thousand.
7    Despite the President's personal popularity, his party lost the election.
8    The novel was all his own work - or he claimed it was.
9    The area is a popular tourist attraction, and yet completely unspoilt.
10  Unlike most of our competitors, we've actually made a profit this year.

Now listen and check your predictions. (Also see the notes in the Key.) Then read the sentences aloud, putting a step-up in the same word as on the recording.

flag.jpgA history teacher is telling his students about Napoleon Bonaparte. Here is part of his lesson. Listen and put a ⇑ before the word where he uses a step-up to introduce a new topic.

Now check your answers in the Key. Then read the text aloud, putting a step-up in the same places as on the recording.

Follow up: Prepare notes for a short talk on a historical subject that you are familiar with. Think about the places where you want to mark a new topic. Give your talk, using step-ups to mark new topics. If possible, record it and listen.

Unit 56      Unit 57     Unit 58 forward.jpg

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