English Online
with Speak Method


Online Classes Pronunciation Facts R, Th, T and other sounds 500 Words Practice
Local Classes Business Communication TOEFL Prep ESL Stories
Contact us Vowel Sounds
Grammar and Idioms Learn by Language

Learn English Pronunciation: Rhythm and Stress


Rule 5: Statements usually go down in pitch. Questions can go up for formal situations and down for informal situations.

Questions and pitch: My rule for questions is this: Let your voice rise on the last word if in a formal situation or if the listener may not be expecting the question.  As a variation, you can also raise your pitch on the question word instead on the last word (do be careful with this one, as it can sound commanding or judgemental).  Do not worry about raising your pitch on the last word if the question is very common or if you're in an informal situation. 

To my friends, I might say:                      To my new  business partner, I'd say, ... or

                                                                                   Steve?                        Where

Where's                                                                is                                                            Steve?

                        Steve?                              Where                                                          is

There is nothing wrong with raising your voice on the last word of a question.  Technically, this is fine.  Only, it will sound odd if you're in a very informal situation where supposedly other people are "in" on the information you're asking about.  As another example, if I was in a business situation, but with colleagues I'd worked with for years, I'd say,


Where do you think                 is?

Statements typically go down in pitch.  In fact, the last words or sounds of a statement can be almost inaudible (as they are expected to be understood).  I'd say:

            wa           e

Drink        ter           very


Every day is such a known phrase, I will not stress "day" at all.  I'll let it fall, barely heard.

Rhythm and Stress: Rule 1
Rhythm and Stress: Rule 2
Rhythm and Stress: Rule 3
Rhythm and Stress: Rule 4

Continue Learning

Get Your Free Evaluation

The American Accent

Pronunciation of 500 Words

Classes Online

Continue Learning

American Vowel Sounds

English Pronunciation News

English Grammar and Idioms

ESL Stories

Back to Learn by Language.

Speakmethod.com: English Pronunciation Learning, Seattle, WA