Speaking Test Strategies 8 Rhythm and intonation

Marching band in costume
Keep a steady rhythm.

In the last lesson, you worked on avoiding non-word sounds and pausing effectively. This lesson will help you to understand English rhythm and intonation, and show you how to use set phrases to appear more fluent.


What is English word stress? Discuss this with your teacher. 

Warm Up: 

Your instructor will read these phrases and stress the key words. Listen and repeat. If you have not used these phrases, then discuss their meaning. If you can think of any other phrases you tend to use, practice those, too.

  1. That's a good question.
  2. Let me see... 
  3. How shall I put it...
  4. Let me think about that for a moment.

Now work through these phrases that you can use either at the beginning of your answer or to introduce a key point. 

  1. So, first of all...
  2. In my opinion... 
  3. To be honest...
  4. As a matter of fact... 
  5. ...or something like that.


Try reading this answer with as much word stress as you can. Your instructor will help you. 

Are World Heritage Sites important?

To be honest, I've never thought about that before. Are they important? Well, I'd say, yes, absolutely. First of all, World Heritage Sites are a chance to look back at the past, to look at history and experience it. You know, they say, "Those who cannot remember the past will definitely repeat it," or something like that. And, as a matter of fact, I think that's exactly right. Also, of course, World Heritage Sites, like Mount Fuji, are gorgeous. So, to wrap up, yes, World Heritage Sites are important. I hope to visit more in the future.


Now, practice answering some questions and focus on the rhythm of speech.