Style Diction and Tone: Reading Comprehension Review Practice Exercises

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Updated on Aug 24, 2011

Read the following study guide for a concept review:

Style Diction and Tone: Reading Comprehension Review Study Guide


What is the connotation of the underlined word in each sentence? Make your best guess based on the context of each word.

  1. I was astonished at how good the dinner was.
  2. The lax work environment seemed to be hindering productivity.
  3. Our annual escape to the cabin by the lake is only one month away.
  4. It was gratifying to see Hector finally learn his piano piece.
  5. Joanne's pointed comments were sent out in a memo to all the employees.
  6. The addition of the fifth speaker in the program was superfluous.

Identify the tone of each sentence by choosing a word from the following list:

  • cheerful
  • sarcastic
  • complimentary
  • ironic
  • hopeful
  • wistful
  • sad
  • foreboding
  • gloomy
  • playful
  • apologetic
  • sincere
  • critical
  • insincere
  • insecure
  • authoritative
  • disrespectful
  • threatening
  • humorous
  • indifferent
  1. I really didn't mean to scare you like that.
  2. The dog stood all alone in the middle of the empty field.
  3. It doesn't matter what you say, only what you do.
  4. I walked along, kicking a stone down the path in front of me.
  5. If you ever want to come here again, then keep off the grass.
  6. Just because you're my teacher doesn't mean I have to listen to you.
  7. It seems to be a problem.
  8. Someday the mail will arrive on time.
  9. Hey, Tommy, watch this!


  1. Astonished means surprised, but the connotation is that dinner is not usually good.
  2. Lax implies that someone was sloppy or careless.
  3. Escape implies not only going on vacation, but also trying to leave something behind.
  4. The fact that the author is gratified implies that he or she feels some responsibility for the feat.
  5. The connotation is that Joanne's comments were not only sharp and critical, but unnecessary.
  6. Superfluous implies not only an extra speaker, but also that the addition of the fifth speaker was a waste of time.

The answers to the following questions may have more than one correct answer. Tone is something that can sometimes be interpreted in more than one way. Your answers should resemble these.

  1. apologetic

    You see from the content that it's an apology, and the tone is sincere.

  2. sad
  3. The dog being all alone in an empty field gives a sad tone

  4. sincere
  5. This is direct, to the point, and not sarcastic.

  6. wistful
  7. This has a wistful tone, because kicking a stone down a path is a contemplative scene.

  8. threatening
  9. This is a threat.

  10. disrespectful
  11. This is a disrespectful thing to say to a teacher.

  12. indifferent
  13. The person doesn't seem to care about the problem.

  14. hopeful
  15. This expresses a hope that one day the mail will arrive on time.

  16. playful
  17. The exclamation mark and calling the person Tommy, denotes an informal, playful tone.

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