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Reading and Writer's Tone Help (page 2)

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Updated on Apr 25, 2014

Varieties of Tone

Just as there are endless varieties of tone when we speak, there are endless varieties of tone in writing.

Here's a short list of some of the more common words used to describe a writer's tone:

cheerful sarcastic
complimentary ironic
hopeful wistful
sad foreboding
gloomy playful
apologetic sincere
critical insincere
insecure authoritative
disrespectful threatening
humorous indifferent

If any of these terms are unfamiliar to you, please look them up in a dictionary now.

TIP: One way to identify an author's tone is to read several passages aloud. Listen carefully to the tone of your voice as you read, since tone is reinforced by the author's use of sentence structure and word choice: Does your voice sound as if you are upbeat and happy, or do you sound rushed, critical, or angry?

  1. What type of tone does a smoothly flowing, medium-length sentence with positive upbeat words convey?
  2. What type of tone does a short, choppy sentence filled with dark imagery convey?

Summary

An ability to determine tone is an essential component of reading comprehension. Often, writers will let their tone convey their meaning, so you need to look carefully for clues in their language and style to determine how writers want their words to sound.

Practice exercises for this concept can be found at Reading and Writer's Tone Practice.

More practice exercises for this concept can be found at Reading Language and Style Practice Test.

Test your knowledge at Reading Comprehension Final Practice Test.

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