How to Explain Timing
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.
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.