The Art of Public Speaking HTML version
5. Read the selections on pages 50, 51, 52, 53 and 54, devoting special attention to emphasizing the important
words or phrases and subordinating the unimportant ones. Read again, changing emphasis slightly. What is
6. Read some sentence repeatedly, emphasizing a different word each time, and show how the meaning is
changed, as is done on page 22.
7. What is the effect of a lack of emphasis?
8. Read the selections on pages 30 and 48, emphasizing every word. What is the effect on the emphasis?
9. When is it permissible to emphasize every single word in a sentence?
10. Note the emphasis and subordination in some conversation or speech you have heard. Were they well
made? Why? Can you suggest any improvement?
11. From a newspaper or a magazine, clip a report of an address, or a biographical eulogy. Mark the passage
for emphasis and bring it with you to class.
12. In the following passage, would you make any changes in the author's markings for emphasis? Where?
Why? Bear in mind that not all words marked require the same degree of emphasis--in a wide variety of
emphasis, and in nice shading of the gradations, lie the excellence of emphatic speech.
I would call him Napoleon, but Napoleon made his way to empire over broken oaths and through a sea of
blood. This man never broke his word. "No Retaliation" was his great motto and the rule of his life; and the
last words uttered to his son in France were these: "My boy, you will one day go back to Santo Domingo;
forget that France murdered your father." I would call him Cromwell, but Cromwell was only a soldier, and
the state he founded went down with him into his grave. I would call him Washington, but the great Virginian
held slaves. This man risked his empire rather than permit the slave-trade in the humblest village of his
You think me a fanatic to-night, for you read history, not with your eyes, but with your prejudices. But fifty
years hence, when Truth gets a hearing, the Muse of History will put Phocion for the Greek, and Brutus for
the Roman, Hampden for England, Lafayette for France, choose Washington as the bright, consummate
flower of our earlier civilization, and John Brown the ripe fruit of our noonday, then, dipping her pen in the
sunlight, will write in the clear blue, above them all, the name of the soldier, the statesman, the martyr,
--WENDELL PHILLIPS, Toussaint l'Ouverture.
Practise on the following selections for emphasis: Beecher's "Abraham Lincoln," page 76; Lincoln's
"Gettysburg Speech," page 50; Seward's "Irrepressible Conflict," page 67; and Bryan's "Prince of Peace," page