Episode 1: Greetings




Which way is the correct way to say this sentence, 1 or 2?

 I like your shoes.

The first one.


That’s because it uses the correct intonation. Intonation is the rise and fall of our voice, also called pitch. When we say stressed syllables, we don’t only make them louder and longer; we also say them higher in pitch. So intonation happens in every sentence since our tone rises on each stressed syllable.

Notice how my voice rises on the stressed syllables in this sentence: I TOOK the BUS.

 We also use intonation to express certain moods. Generally, there are three categories of intonation: certainty, uncertainty, and non-finality.

In other words, we can use intonation to show that we are sure and our pitch falls; we are unsure and our pitch rises; or we haven’t finished our thought and our pitch doesn’t rise or fall much. I indicate the fall and rise of the voice with arrows: ↗↘. I use double arrows if the rise or fall is greater: ↗↗ or ↘↘.

When we say positive or negative statements that show certainty, our intonation rises and then falls at the end of the sentence: ↗↘.

If you use the wrong intonation, like your voice rises at the end of a statement, a fluent English speaker might think you’re not finished speaking or you’re asking a question. So it’s important to use the right intonation.


Practice: Listen to these lines from the conversation. Pay attention to how the intonation goes down at the end of each sentence.

  1. Yeah, the view of the water is amazing here ↘.
  2. Nice to meet you.
  3. I’ve been here for three weeks now.
  4. More than you could try.
  5. Well, I got to run, but it was great talking to you.

Phone Numbers

Which is the normal way to give your phone number in Canada, 1 or 2?


The first one.

When we are giving our phone numbers in Canada, we typically break up the numbers into the area code, the first three digits, and then we normally say the last four digits two numbers at a time.

We typically use the following intonation: up on the first two parts and then down on the last part: 647 ↗ 834 ↗ 9862 ↘.


PracticeListen to the following numbers being said.

Then make sure your microphone is on, push the button to speak, wait 5 seconds, and don’t speak too fast. Repeat the numbers using the above intonation pattern in the exercise below.