Diction refers to the author’s choice of words.Tone is the attitude or feeling that the writer’s words express.
When analyzing diction, consider such questions as: • Is the language concrete or abstract? • Are the words monosyllabic or polysyllabic? • Do the words have interesting connotations? • Is the diction formal or colloquial? • Is there any change in the level of diction in the passage? • What can the reader infer about the speaker or the speaker’s attitude from the word choice?
Concrete? Abstract? Monosyllabic words Polysyllabic words Formal Colloquial Change in type of diction? Childlike Mature thinking Intellectually inferior Sophisticated Educated Illiterate Does this indicate an epiphany? What are some of the conclusions we can draw from these answers?
Denotation means the literal, dictionary definition of the word – plump and obese both mean caloricly challengedConnotation means the implied or suggested meaning attached to a word, or the emotional “tag” that goes along with the word.Corpulent, plump, obese, heavy set, fleshy, fat, paunchy, burly, over-weight, roly poly, bulky, portly, weighty, pudgyWhich word do we use to insult someone?Which one do we use to describe someone we like?Which one do we use to describe a cute little baby?
The choice of diction contributes to the toneWhen discussing tone, consider such questions as: • What seems to be the speaker’s attitude in the passage? • Is more than one attitude or point of view expressed? • Does the passage have a noticeable emotional mood or atmosphere? • Can anything in the passage be described as irony?
ALWAYS use an adjective when describing diction and tone.____ diction contributes to the ____ tone.
Bouncing into the room, she lit up the vicinity with a joyous glow on her face as she told about her fiancé and their wedding plans.What are the specific words that create the feeling of the sentence? What words did the author use to create the feeling of the sentence?
Bouncing into the room, she lit up the vicinity with a joyousglow on her face as she told about her fiancé and their wedding plans.Bouncing – lit – joyous – glow – fiancé - weddingWhat kind of words are these?
Bouncing into the room, she lit up the vicinity with a joyousglow on her face as she told about her fiancé and their wedding plans.____ diction contributes to the ____ tone. Cheerful diction contributes to the euphoric tone.Or uplifting diction contributes to the joyful tone.
She huddled in the corner, clutching her tattered blanket and shakingconvulsively, as she feverishly searched the room for the unknowndangers that awaited her.____ diction contributes to the ____ tone. frightening diction contributes to the alarming tone.
She lay on the couch in a white evening dress, whispering softly in the ear of her fiancé, running her fingers through his hair and gently nibbling his earlobe.____ diction contributes to the ____ tone. suggestive diction contributes to the seductive tone.
Harvard accepted her, allowing this child the opportunity to study in the same halls as the many famous scholars before her, giving her the chance to excel in her field in the best college in the United States.____ diction contributes to the ____ tone. lofty diction contributes to the elevated tone.
Bursting through the door, the flustered mother hollereduncontrollably at the innocent teacher who gave her child an F.____ diction contributes to the ____ tone.fierce diction contributes to the antagonistic tone.
Drawing the attention of his classmates, as well as his teacher, the student dared to experiment with his professor’sintelligence by interrogating him about the Bible.____ diction contributes to the ____ tone.challenging diction contributes to the confrontational tone.
He furtively glanced behind him, for fear of his imaginedpursuers, then hurriedly walked on, jumping at the slightest sound, even of a leaf crackling under his own foot.____ diction contributes to the ____ tone.threatening diction contributes to the frantic tone.
Gentlysmiling, her mother tenderlytucked the covers up around the child’s neck, and carefully, quietly, left the room, making sure to leave a comforting ray of light shining through the opened door should the child awake.____ diction contributes to the ____ tone.loving diction contributes to the serene tone.
The laughing wind skipped through the village, teasing the trees until they danced with anger and cajoling the grass into fighting itself, blade slapping blade, as the silly dog with golfball eyes and flopping, tongue bounded across the lawn.____ diction contributes to the ____ tone.humorous diction contributes to the happy-go-lucky tone.
Remember………………………What kind of words are there?And how do they make you feel?
Abhorrent abrupt accusing accusatory admonitory bantering bitter boring brash bucolic calm cautious childish coarse cold colloquial concerned despairing desperate disdainful disgusted ecstatic effusive elated elegiac eloquent embittered erudite exuberant foreboding gloomy harsh haughty hopeful humbleindignant inflammatory irreverent irritated ironicjoking joyful light loving miserable melancholicnervous nostalgic optimistic outraged paranoid passionate patronizing pedantic peaceful pessimistic pitiful pleasant playful proud pompous pretentious questioning reflective reminiscent resigned romantic sadsanctimonious sarcastic sardonic scornful sentimentalserene serious sharp shocked silly solemn somber soothing snobbish snooty sympathetic taunting turgid vexedvibrant whimsical angry anxious appreciative apologetic arrogant audacious condemning dark condescending contemptuous dreamy mocking moralistic mournful persuasive piquant cynical compassionate confidant
See………… The more words you know to describe passages, the more sophisticated your descriptions will be when you analyze authors’ writing
And one last tip………..Never, never, never, never, never say:“the author uses diction”do you mean – the author chooses words?Well, duh!!!!!!Always say:the author uses ______(what kind of) dictionindignant? dark? euphoric?Describe it!!!!!!