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  1. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #1

    Intonation, stressed verb

    I read somewhere that if you stress the verb in a question like the one below, it will sound more formal while if you don't stress it, the question will sound less formal. Is it so? (I coloured the stressed syllables blue)

    Is Joseph a teacher? - more formal?
    Is Joseph a teacher? - less formal?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Intonation, stressed verb

    I don't see a change in formality. There is a difference in stress on word syllables and stress on words. The stresses on the first syllables of Joseph and teacher are just a part of the words.

    In a normal use, one could stress the word "Joseph" or the word "teacher". Usually, it would be "teacher". That is just asking for information.

    If one stresses "Is" it suggests that the speaker has doubts about that.
    Last edited by MikeNewYork; 22-Jun-2014 at 19:01. Reason: typo

  3. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Intonation, stressed verb

    And if stressing IS expresses doubt, can I ask "Is he a teacher?" in two different ways (with the verb IS 1) unstressed and 2) stressed)?

    1) Is he an athlete? - simply asking for information
    2) Is he an athlete? - doubting that he is an athlete

    Am I right to say that in the following recording is is not stressed, so the sentence is neutral, it's just asking for information (like in number1))?

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B72...it?usp=sharing
    Last edited by englishhobby; 22-Jun-2014 at 10:02.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

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    #4

    Re: Intonation, stressed verb

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    I read somewhere that if you stress the verb in a question like the one below, it will sound more formal while if you don't stress it, the question will sound less formal. Is it so? (I coloured the stressed syllables blue)

    Is Joseph a teacher? - more formal?
    Is Joseph a teacher? - less formal?
    If you stress is, it sounds to me that you're surprised or don't believe that Joseph is a teacher. It's not a question of formality but meaning to me.

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