Welcome to Daily Tips on Learning English. Today’s tip is on the intonation of questions.
Remember that intonation is the rising and falling of the pitch of your voice. So “she’s here.” is a statement, but “she’s here?” is a question. But it isn’t true that all questions have a rising intonation. Today, let’s just look at the intonation of three types of questions: “Yes/No” questions, “Wh-” questions and choice questions.
“Yes/No” questions have a rising intonation. “Wh-”qusetions have a falling intonation. And choice questions have a rising intonation for every choice except the last choice, which has a falling intonation.
“Yes/No” questions such as “Do you like Taiwan?” “Can you speak Chinese?” have a rising intonation. The listener must answer either “yes” or “no”. “Wh-” questions start with the words “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”,” why”, “which” and “how”. “Wh-” questions have a falling tone. For example, “What time is it?ㄋ” “Where do you live?ㄋ” Don’t say “What time is it?ㄊ” “Where do you live?ㄊ” In choice questions, the listener is expected to choose one item from several. For example, “Would you like juice, Coke, Tea or coffee?” A rising tone is used for every choice except the last, which has a falling tone. Listen to another example. “Do you like basketball, baseball, soccer or football?”. So remember that “Yes/No” questions, “Wh-” questions, and choice question have different intonation patterns, and make sure to intone them properly.
This has been today’s daily tip on learning English. Tune in tomorrow for another tip.