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I run several learning groups for call centres during which we explore the use of tone on a sentence and how putting emphasis on one word changes the meaning of the message. I have used 'I never said he should get the job' sucessfully and varients on this using delegates names, but wondered if anyone else has any useful examples I could try?

6 Responses

  1. Tone

    Hi John

    This sort of links to your question and the idea can be adapted quite easily I think…

    Give the statement below as a handout with 2 different colour highlight pens. Ask the delegates to highlight the "high" words and the "low" words then read it to see the effect with or without the use of tone…


    Thousands of people are gasping

    for breath

    Their lungs are seared with

    tobacco smoke

    The time for action has come

    Ban tobacco now

    Then our children may breathe

    clean air

  2. He said he never stole the money
    I have used the above sentence when highlighting the impact of Inflection, the sentence is said once with no inflection and then repeated with the a different word emphasised each time (“He” “he” “stole” “money”)delegates are asked what their impression of what has happened/what has been described as a result in the use of inflection.

  3. Some repurposed print ones

    There are a couple I use in writing courses, to show how punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence. If you read them out with the correct emphasis they should also work verbally.


    "I don’t like her because she is rich." (I like her, but not for this reason.)

    "I don’t like her, because she is rich." (I don’t like her, and this is why.)


    "The design team who worked late on the project can leave early on Tuesday." (The late-working designers get to leave early.)

    "The design team, who worked late on the project, can leave early on Tuesday." (All the designers get to leave early.)


    I’ve never used this old favourite verballly but it should work:

    "A woman without her man is nothing"

    "A woman: without her, man is nothing."


    I hope they help.



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