Common Intonation Patterns
The pitch of your voice goes up or down based on whether you’re asking a question or making a statement. Pitch is also influenced by the main idea you want to communicate. Additionally, your mood and emotions have a large impact on your intonation patterns in spoken English.
There are four common intonation patterns for sentences in English:
- yes/no questions tend to have rising intonation/pitch at the end.
- wh and how questions tend to have falling intonation/pitch at the end.
- Statements have falling intonation/pitch on the last syllable of the sentence.
- When items are listed or said in a series, the first items have rising intonation and the last one has falling intonation.
For more practice, download the detailed Questions & Statements sample exercise (opens in PDF format) and then follow along with the audio file.