The Communicative Grammar of English Workbook (2013)

UNIT TWO. Emotion

2.1. Emotive emphasis in speech 1

Sections 298–301; 528

Emotive emphasis can be given in a variety of ways:

interjections: words like oh, ah, wow, ouch, etc.

exclamations beginning with what- and how-phrases which do not cause subject-operator inversion

emphatic so and such

repetition (which also denotes degree)

stress on the operator

nuclear stress on other words

intensifying adverbs and modifiers

Task one *

Identify the various emotive features that you can find in the following extracts.

1.      ‘Well!’ thought Alice to herself. ‘After such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they’ll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn’t say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!’ (Which was very likely true.)

Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end?

(from Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass, p. 13)

2.      “You know something, Maria? We fought.”


“We were in the goddamned jungle … and we were attacked … and we fought our way out.” Now he sounded as if the dawn were breaking wider and wider. “Christ, I don’t know when the last time was I was in a fight, an actual fight. Maybe I was twelve, thirteen. You know something, babe? You were great. You were fantastic. You really were. When I saw you behind the wheel – I didn’t even know if you could drive the car!” He was elated. She was driving. “But you drove the hell out of it! You were great!” Oh, the dawn had broken. The world glowed with its radiance.

(from Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities, pp. 98–99)

Task two *

Give emotive emphasis by adding the kind of element suggested by the ‘prompt’ in brackets, changing the sentence structure where necessary.

1.John Thaw was a brilliant actor. (emphatic so/such)

2.You’re wearing a beautiful tie. (exclamation)

3.That was an awful thing to say. (repetition)

4.It was stupid of you to insult the ambassador like that. (exclamation)

5.I’m really disappointed now. (repetition)

6.The lounge is elegantly decorated. (emphatic so/such)

7.It would be far better to ignore that man altogether. (repetition)

8.When I came back, I felt exhausted. (emphatic so/such)

9.Joan’s mood changed suddenly again. (exclamation)

10.The Wilsons are nice people. (emphatic so/such)

11.Olive can be a charming hostess. (exclamation)

12.A bedbug is a tiny creature. (repetition)

Task three **

Underline the operators, modifiers, etc. which are likely to receive nuclear stress in the sentences making up the following dialogue. Add the dummy auxiliary do where it makes sense.


George, what are you doing so early in the morning?


I’m awfully sorry, but I had to get out of bed.


Tell me what’s the matter with you, then.


Well, I had the most horrifying nightmare.


You will have to calm down, you know. This isn’t an isolated thing. Something must be bothering you.


I can’t deny that. I’ve been terribly worked up lately.


I wish you’d tell me more. I have a right to know.


If I told you, you’d be incredibly angry.


You owe me an explanation. I am your wife, after all.


I decided to buy a hugely expensive car and it could ruin us.

Task four **

Complete the following sentences, using the most appropriate of the intensifying adjectives or adverbs in brackets. Use each word just once.













1.Most of the relatives were ____________ devastated by the terrible news.

2.The fact that I knew the local culture so well turned out to be a ____________ asset.

3.Yet another country in this volatile region is descending into ____________ chaos.

4.The evidence ____________ proves that the victim was killed with a blunt instrument.

5.We enjoyed two weeks of ____________ weather while we were cruising in the Pacific.

6.The stock market guru was ____________ knocked off his pedestal.

7.Five-star hotels are often associated with luxury and ____________ bills.

8.Jennifer was described by some experts as a ____________ beauty.

9.To be quite honest, I’m not __________ impressed with Jim’s performance.

10.Are you ____________ going to get married to this unscrupulous person?

11.It was a ____________ idea to cut bus and tram fares in big cities.

12.The documentaries broadcast by National Geographic Channel are very interesting ____________.

2.2. Emotive emphasis in speech 2

Sections 302–305; 417

The emotive force of a wh-question can be strengthened by adding ever, on earth, etc. to the wh-word.

Negative sentences can be intensified by adding at all, a bit, whatever, a thing, etc. or by putting not a before a noun. The negative element can also be placed at the beginning of a clause, which normally causes subject-operator inversion.

An exclamatory question is a yes-no question spoken with an emphatic falling tone. It often has a negative form.

A rhetorical question is more like a forceful statement and can have a positive or negative form. There are also rhetorical wh-questions.

Task one **

Intensify the emotive force of the underlined parts by adding one of the phrases below. Use each of these phrases only once, some of them being interchangeable.

a bit

a fig

a thing

a wink

at all

by any means


in heaven’s name

on earth


1.I didn’t have any money.

2.Why are you going to sell such a unique painting?

3.I wasn’t surprised that things had got out of hand.

4.There was so much noise that night that I didn’t sleep.

5.How did the serial killer manage to escape from prison?

6.What have you been doing to your hair?

7.There is no reason to be so upset about Erica’s sudden departure.

8.Without light, no one could see in that dark cave.

9.It is not true that the whale is a type of fish.

10.Gary was severely reprimanded but he doesn’t care.

Task two *

Put the negative element in front position to make the sentence sound more rhetorical, using the appropriate word order.

1.I had never met the Sultan of Brunei before.

2.It is by no means clear that the United States will sign the agreement.

3.These magnificent flowers are nowhere else to be found.

4.The harsh ruler spared not a single insurgent’s life.

5.We should in no way lend credibility to the witness’s account of the facts.

6.I will support Mr Barlow under no circumstances whatsoever.

7.British women did not get the vote until after the First World War.

8.This evil man not only murdered his wife, he also mutilated her body.

Task three ***

Rewrite the following dialogue by turning the sentences into exclamatory OR rhetorical questions, as indicated in brackets.


Oh boy, I’m tired. (exclamatory positive)


You’ve been overdoing it again. (rhetorical negative)


I haven’t got an alternative. (rhetorical wh-question)


You could ask me to lend you a hand from time to time. (rhetorical negative)


That’s a most generous offer. (exclamatory negative)


I detect some irony in your voice. (rhetorical positive)


I’ve asked you many times in the past. (rhetorical wh-question)


I was suffering from depression then. (rhetorical negative)


Hard work is the best antidote to depression. (rhetorical negative)


Oh, but I felt sleepy all the time, taking those pills. (exclamatory positive)


I would have been a far better doctor for you, then. (rhetorical negative)


Oh Dick, you are hopeless. (exclamatory positive)

2.3. Describing emotions 1

Sections 306–308; 499

The cause of an emotive reaction to something can be expressed by:

prepositionsat (events), with (persons and objects), about and of

to-infinitive clause or that-clause (with or without should)

subject (active constructions) or by-agent (passive constructions).

more impersonal constructions: the person affected by the emotion can be identified by a phrase introduced by to or for.

Some sentence adverbials, including comment clauses, can express an emotional reaction or judgement.

Task one *

Match the clauses in the left-hand column with the structures in the right-hand one.


It’s a shame


about the possible outbreak of cholera.


Caroline was angry


at what they found in the basement.


The proliferation of biological weapons


with their status because they felt exploited.


The authorities are concerned


at my naïve belief in a better world.


We were overjoyed


that we were not informed earlier.


The investigators were astonished


to learn that he had been turned down.


Some secretaries were dissatisfied


is really frightening.


To some observers, it was surprising


that I should feel perfectly at home.


The philosopher smiled


with me for not having invited her.


Paul was disappointed


of their outrageous behaviour at the party.


Aunt Rebecca was anxious


that so many people had cast their votes.


The twins were ashamed


to meet again after so many years.

Task two **

Rewrite the following sentences, using sentence adverbials corresponding to the underlined adjectives and verbs.

Example: It is surprising that nobody complained about what had happened.

⇒  Surprisingly, nobody complained about what had happened.

1.It was amazing that most passengers of the crashed airliner escaped unhurt.

2.I would like to buy a flat, and would prefer to have one with a good view.

3.It is tragic that five skiers died in the avalanche.

4.Barbara was foolish to carry thousands of dollars in her handbag.

5.It is unfortunate that too little is being done to protect the environment.

6.I regretted that some people failed to appreciate my point of view.

7.I was lucky not to be at home when the gas explosion occurred.

8.It was quite sensible of the government to launch a new campaign against drink-driving.

9.It is to be hoped that the economy will pick up again later this year.

10.We had not expected the minister to hand in his resignation.

Task three **

Complete the sentences in the following dialogue, adding the most appropriate of the comment clauses listed below. Use each clause just once.

I believe

I’m afraid

I’m sure

I see

putting it more bluntly

so to speak

to be honest

what’s more

you bet

you see


Nora, we can no longer afford to stay in this lavish apartment, _______________. _______________, we’ll have to move to a cheaper place.


I don’t know what to say, _______________.


I may soon be made redundant, _______________. _______________, I lost a considerable amount of money in a risky project a few weeks ago.


Erm … there is a way out, _______________, if at least you are prepared to listen to me first.


_______________ I will listen to you.


Well, there is this dear cousin of mine who was born with, _______________, a silver spoon in his mouth. He will help us out, _______________.


Oh, _______________. That would be wonderful, of course.

2.4. Describing emotions 2

Sections 309–318; 722–723

The verbs like, love, hate and prefer can be followed by a noun phrase object, a to-infinitive clause or an -ing clause. The infinitive clause tends to express an ‘idea’ and is also used when the main verb is hypothetical, while the -ing clause rather expresses a ‘fact’.

The verbs enjoy, dislike and loathe take only -ing clauses.

The rejected alternative following the object of prefer is introduced by a to-phrase, by an infinitive clause introduced by rather than or by an -ing clause.

Other emotions can be expressed in a large variety of structural and lexical ways and can range in tone from more to less tentative, tactful, enthusiastic, etc.

Task one **

Complete the following sentences, using the infinitive OR -ing form of the verb in brackets.

1.I dislike (sit) _______________ in overcrowded trains.

2.I wouldn’t like (drive) _______________ a thousand miles all on my own.

3.On the whole, I prefer (walk) _______________ to (cycle) ______________.

4.We both enjoyed (cook) _______________ dinner for our newly arrived guests.

5.The traditional housewife likes everything (be) _______________ neat and tidy.

6.Margaret is an actress who has always loved (perform) _______________ on the stage.

7.Rather than (sack) _______________ part of the workforce, the management preferred (introduce) _______________ part-time work.

8.I hate (say) _______________ this, but you keep giving us the wrong signal.

9.Arthur tells me he loathes (go) _______________ to these conferences.

10.Would you really love (work) _______________ with autistic children?

11.I like (be) _______________ with Jerry because he is so entertaining.

12.We have always preferred (travel) _______________ abroad, rather than (stay) _______________ close to home.

Task two **


What is the basic emotion expressed by each of the following pairs of sentences? Choose the appropriate label from the following list of seven: (A) hope, (B) anticipation of pleasure, (C) disappointment or regret, (D) approval, (E) disapproval, (F) surprise, (G) concern or worry.


Which of the two versions expresses the stronger emotion, i.e. sounds more direct, more emphatic, less tentative, etc.?


You handled the situation very clumsily.


Couldn’t you have handled the situation a little more carefully?


I’m a bit worried about these new developments.


I find these new developments very alarming indeed.


What a strange way of dealing with young children.


I thought it a rather strange way of dealing with young children.


I’m looking forward to participating in this new venture.


I’m very eager to participate in this new venture.


I was hoping we could discuss some of the remaining problems.


I hope to discuss some of the remaining problems with you.


How unfortunate that so few people turned up in the end.


Unfortunately, not many people turned up in the end.


The food on board the plane wasn’t too bad, was it?


I really liked the food on board the plane, didn’t you?


Don’t you agree that an alternative approach might have been more appropriate?


I don’t think this was the appropriate approach, you know.


The news coming from the Middle East is most disturbing.


There is growing concern over the news coming from the Middle East.


If only solar energy could be used on a much wider scale!


It’s a bit of a pity that solar energy can’t be used on a wider scale yet.

Task three ***

Rewrite the following dialogue by adding the emotional meanings in brackets to the sentences as they stand. Give for each sentence two ‘expanded’ versions, which differ in form and possibly also in terms of emotive strength.

Example: We couldn’t go cycling this afternoon. (disappointment)

⇒  What a pity we couldn’t go cycling this afternoon.

It would have been more fun if we had been able to go cycling this afternoon.


Viv, I’m going to indulge in a five-course dinner this evening. (anticipation of pleasure)


You’ll be stuffing yourself with fattening food again. (disapproval)


You envy people who like a hearty meal from time to time. (surprise)


More and more of those people are becoming overweight these days. (concern)


That’s not going to happen to me. (hope)


You don’t seem to realize that too much food is bad for your health. (regret)


YOU don’t seem to realize that I’m taking a lot of exercise now. (surprise)


You’ve at least changed that part of your lifestyle. (approval)


Some of the physical activities make me feel exhausted. (disappointment)


As you lose weight, the activities will seem lighter too. (hope)