PATTY: I’m really excited for Aunt Mary’s surprise birthday party this afternoon! Aren’t you?

SUSAN: Yeah! How old is she?

PATTY:  She’ll be 55 on May 14 [fourteenth].

SUSAN: Wow! I didn’t know that my mom was older — she’s going to be 57 on September 2 [second]. Anyway, Aunt Mary’s going to be so surprised to see us all here!

PATTY: I know! But we still have to get all the food set up before she gets here … OK! We’re all ready now. Shh! She’s here!

ALL: Surprise!


• I’m really excited … Notice the emphasis on “really.” “Really” is used to emphasize the adjective “excited” here.
• Birthday party  Notice that the normal stress for a compound noun falls on the first element of the compound.
• Aren’t you? This negative tag is used to show that the speaker expects a positive answer. Patty assumes that Susan is also looking forward to the party.
• She’ll be 55 Notice that “55” is stressed here. This detail answers the question “How old is she?”
• Fourteenth Notice that we use “th” for ordinal numbers, starting with 4 [but first,
second and third]. The stress is on the second syllable [fourTEENTH]. Compare this with “fortieth: 40th” [FORtieth].
• She’s going to be … Notice how this is pronounced like “gonna be.” Instead of four syllables “go/ing/to/be” there are three syllables “ga/na/be.”