Using Thought Groups in Spoken English

Using Thought Groups in Spoken English 

Using thought groups

Using thought groups

When Americans speak they divide longer sentences into units.

Accent & pronunciation teachers call these units “thought groups”.

You can just think of them as phrases.

Here’s how it works

The words in each phrase or thought group receive different types of stress.

  • The smaller words, such as articles & prepositions, are usually unstressed.
  • The important words, usually nouns & verbs, are stressed.

In each phrase or thought group there is also a very important word called the focus word.

When Americans speak we give the most emphasis to the focus word. ☝

We pause briefly between each phrase or thought group.⤼

This brief pause gives the listener a bit of time to process what we are saying.

Have you learned to speak like this?

Many people never learned to use thought groups, focus words & pauses when they speak English.

Speech sounds fast & flat

This often creates “accented” speech that is too fast for American listeners to understand.

It can also create speech that sounds very flat & monotonous to American listeners.

There are no solid rules for dividing longer sentences into phrases or thought groups. It really depends on the idea that you are trying to convey.

Learn to use thought groups when you speak

Using thought groups when you speak will allow Americans to process what you are saying &  understand you more easily.

I teach you to use THOUGHT groups in my ✪iPad book for the American accent.

If you’re an iPad user, click on the link above to see this (download the first chapter for free).