Stuart Mill English

How to Learn, How to Teach English

How to explain timing

How to Explain Timing

UPDATE: Here’s a lesson plan on timing that you’ll love.

UPDATE 2: Here are some ways to teach timing in the classroom.

Timing is how much time we give to a part of a speech in relation to the other parts of speech around it.

For example: I’m reeeeeealy tired.

And: I’m really tired.

In the first sentence “reeeeee” takes a lot longer to say than the other parts of the sentence. In the second, it takes about the same amount of time.

Timing can be long or short. In the above example, “reeeee” takes a long time. Here’s an example of a simple sentence with short, normal, and long timing.

I’m good.

I’m good.

I’m good.

Timing can also be used for pauses in a sentence. Compare:

That movie was interesting.

That movie was…interesting.

Finally, note how timing can affect the meaning of a sentence. I’m reeeeeealy tired is stronger. I’m good (said quickly) sounds like the speaker doesn’t want you to care about their goodness. That movie was…interesting means the movie wasn’t interesting.

Timing doesn’t change the meaning of a word or a sentence by itself—tone, intonation, and stress are also important—but timing is a key element of speech and something students should understand.

March 24, 2011 - Posted by | Teaching Strategies | , , , , , ,


  1. Hi stuart, i would love to know how you put those short recordings onto your blog, I so want to learn how to do that. please..

    Comment by jane curry | March 28, 2011 | Reply

  2. 🙂 Happy to help, Jane.

    I use Audacity ( to make the recordings in the first place. The software is free. Once you get it, you’ll just need a microphone. The controls on audacity are the same that you’d find on an old tape recorder, so you shouldn’t have any problems.

    After you’ve recorded something, then you need to export it. (It’s a choice in Audacity’s main menu.) Exporting just means changing it into a common file type like .mp3.

    Then you need to upload the file to your blog. I use WordPress, but I don’t know about you, so I’m not sure if I can help you there.

    Comment by Stuart Mill English | March 28, 2011 | Reply

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