The tone is the attitude of the writer, used towards the audience/subject. The tone is usually detected through the writers diction, as well as the viewpoint of the writer. The tone is used as a way to express how the author feels. The tone is also used and expressed by the authors use of syntax. It's origin Tonus >Latin tonos> Greek.

Observing Tone

The audience can discover the audience's tone by evaluating how the author set up the structure of their text, rhythm, and word choice. Observe if the words are heavily connotated. Do you feel a certain way when you read the author's words?

  • Connotation = when feelings are associated with words
  • Prosody = Rhythm, volume, and sonorant words


"The anger that lived inside me was bigger than it needed to be."
"This feeling of joy was so powerful the whole church began to sing."
"The sadness had overpowered me, dragging me down."

Evaluating Tone

The audience can evaluate tone by the content and the word choice and sentence structure the author provides. If an audience member can easily recognize the way the author is feeling and feels the same way, the author's tone is effective. IN order to efficiently analyze the tone, YOU must recognize what the author did to achieve the tone.

Determining Tone

In order to determine the attitude of a speaker, you have to analyze the words that a speaker is using and the way speaker is using them [ Diction and Syntax ]

Distinction in Tone

Tone is distinguished differently in spoken language and written language

Spoken language

Spoken language is established through the way someone says something more so than the words that a person says. Certain words, phrases, and expressions can be used and conveyed in spoken language that cannot be used in written language.

Written Language

Although not always true, written language is typically more formal than spoken language. The audience does not have a face or voice in written language and must determine tone through what is said, and when/where something is said in the text.

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