As you now know, tone helps you understand a writer’s attitude toward a piece of writing. The trick is to be able to detect or “hear” an author’s tone as you read. When you understand the tone, words can come to life in your imagination.
For example, if someone writes “I woke up this morning and got ready to go to work,” it’s difficult to figure out the tone because the writer is telling you what’s happening but isn’t showing you anything. In other words, the sentence doesn’t contain specific descriptive words and phrases that allow you to create a picture in your mind.
What if the sentence were changed to this: “The alarm clock’s wretched clanging jolted me from my peaceful, dreamy slumber. With a heavy head and heart, I came to the inevitable conclusion that I must prepare for school.”
Take a look at this list of words that might be used to describe the tone of a piece of writing. There are many, many more “tone” words; this list is just a sampling.
To see more words that could be used to describe tone, click on this link.
So how do you detect tone? Take a look at these highlighted words and phrases that you identified in the first exercise. You should be able to detect the tone of each. Read through each sentence again and answer the questions that follow. Click on the faces () to respond.