Voice Inflection

What is Voice Inflection?

Voice inflection, or intonation, is when we change the tone or pitch of our voice when we are speaking in order to convey a more precise meaning for our words or provide insight about how we are feeling.

In fact, we can alter the inflection in our voice and add pauses to make the same words have completely different meanings, and this is important because, along with body langague, how we speak provides important social cues to people around us.

In the short exercise below, you and your students will put your voice inflection listening skills to the test using audio clips from our online game, Adventures Aboard the SS GRIN.

voice inflection

Recommended Grade Level: All

SEL Skill(s): Communication

Duration: 20 – 30 minutes


  • Video (below)
  • Paper and pencil or pen

Voice Inflection Examples

In the video below, you will hear four audio clips for the following words:

  • “I didn’t even hear what you were saying”
  • “Why would I listen to your conversation?”

When you listen to each clip, try and decide if the person speaking sounds:

  • Angry
  • Sad
  • Surprised
  • Worried

Note: Each clip is repeated 3 times so that you and your students have time to consider each version.

Between versions of the clips, we have a pause screen. You can stop the video for a moment to discuss it as a group or give students a chance to write down their answer. And ask your student what they heard that made them select that particular feeling.

Answer Key:

  • I didn’t even hear what you were saying: Sad, Angry, Surprised, and Worried
  • Why would I listen to your conversation?: Surprised, Worried, Angry, and Sad

Additional Resources


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