Tone Deaf

Set the Tone Right - Practice Questions

Nov 26 2021


The difference between, "Unbelievable!", and "Un-*@#-believable!".

What is tone?

Tone is the pitch of the speaker. It could be low or high depending on what the speaker intends to communicate. Tone is also a cue to the person’s attitude. The tone we take with a friend is certainly different from what we take with a teacher.

Is tone important?

Yes! It is. Especially, if you are planning to take an international english test and are aiming to score an 8.0 in IELTS, a 90 in PTE or a B in OET. In the speaking sections of these tests, test-takers wrongly assume that they are tested only in areas related to grammar and vocabulary. However, tone as a part of pronunciation also plays an important role. Candidates need to understand this and ensure their tone in the speaking tests is appropriate.

How does it affect my score?

In the IELTS Speaking test, if the candidate has to speak about a happy moment, he/she should sound happy. Otherwise, this could affect the candidate’s score in pronunciation, which accounts to 25% of the speaking band score.

(Check out the IELTS Speaking Band Descriptor)

In the OET Speaking test, a nurse or a doctor should have an empathetic tone. Lack of this could affect the clinical score making it difficult to score an A in OET Speaking.  

(Checkout the OET Speaking Band Descriptor)

IELTS General Writing task 1 needs candidates to display tone that is both appropriate and consistent. The band descriptor clearly states that this could be the gap between a 6.0 and a 7.0 in the IELTS writing test. 

(Check out the IELTS Writing Task 1 Band Descriptor)   

The PTE speaking test also insists that candidates replicate the tone of the speaker in the read aloud section of the test. Along with the accuracy of the speech, pronunciation is also graded. This is of utmost importance if your goal is to reach a 79 in PTE Speaking. 

(Check out the PTE Guide) 


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