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

Intonation: Why and When You Should Pause

In casual conversation, many people do not pause very often. However, when giving a presentation, speaking at an interview or even just expressing an important thought, pausing is an essential skill. For the non-native speaker, pausing between phrases is a way of showing that you are thinking in phrases, not words, a key sign of fluency.

Remember These Rules:

  • Pause briefly to separate phrases.
  • Pause for a longer time to create effect.
  • Pause with intention in your voice.

Pause Briefly

  • Before prepositions--some common prepositions are: about, across, around, at, before, behind, between, beside, by, during, for, from, in, inside, into, like, of, on, out, outside, since, through, to, with, without
  • Before conjunctions--and, but, or
  • Before the words that and which

Pause for Effect

Pause before or after an important word (the word you stress). Pause before if you want to get your listener's attention before you speak. Pause after if you want to let your listener think about the word momentarily. Of course, these effects are almost the same, so usually, you do not consciously choose.

Pause with Intention

Learn to control your voice so that your pause sounds intentional.

  • You can make the word before the pause a bit longer than usual--this shows that you are about to say something else.
  • You can simply keep a confident attitude to show that you are choosing your words with purpose.

More English Practice

Back to Stress: Step 3

Stress: Step 1

Word Stress Introduction

Syllable Stress

More English Practice

The 500 English Words

What is a Vowel

The American Accent

English Course Online

*Speakmethod is a part of IE Tutoring which holds the copyright to all materials on this site.
English Online with Speak Method