We can emphasize an idea (make it seem more important) in several ways.

  • We can pronounce some words louder and with a higher intonation.
    In writing, we can show this by using CAPITAL LETTERS or by underlining. In printing, italics or bold type are used.
    Mary, I’m IN LOVE1. PltM dfh’-t til!
      This is the last opportunity.
      He lived in France, not Spain.
      Changes in emphasis can change the meaning. Compare:
      Jane phoned me yesterday. (Not somebody else.)
      Jane phoned me yesterday. (She didn’t come to see me.)
      Jane phoned me yesterday. (She didn’t phone you.)
      Jane phoned me yesterday (Not today.)

    We often emphasize auxiliary verbs. This makes the sentence ‘stronger’, or it expresses a contrast. When we stress auxiliary verbs, they change their pronunciation.

      It was a nice party!
      You have grown!
      I am telling the truth — you must believe me!
      In sentences without auxiliary verbs, we can add do for emphasis.
      Do sit down.
      You’re wrong — she does like you.
      When auxiliary verbs are stressed, the word order can change. Compare:
      You have certainly grown.
      You certainly have grown! (emphatic).
  • We can use special words to show emphasis; for example so, such, really.
      Thank you so much. It was such a lovely party. I really enjoyed myself.
  • We can also use special structures, including repetition, to make some parts of the sentence more important.
      That film — what did you think of it?
      Asleep, then, were you?
      It was John who paid for the drinks.
      What I need is a drink She looks much, much older.