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4.3: Creating Tone and Mood with Thoughtful Diction

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    Much of how we comprehend comes from not only what is communicated, but also how it is communicated. This sentence, for example, can mean a number of things depending upon which word is stressed.

    I never said he took my cupcake.

    • never said he took my cupcake.
    • never said he took my cupcake.
    • I never said he took my cupcake.
    • I never said he took my cupcake.
    • I never said he took my cupcake.
    • I never said he took my cupcake.
    • I never said he took my cupcake.

    Tone and Mood

    • One of the ways writers create feeling (tone and mood) with their writing by thoughtful use of word choice (diction.) Additionally, writers use sentence structure and word order to emphasize certain tones and moods.
    • Tone describes an attitude: the attitude of the author toward the audience or topic, or in fiction, the attitude of a character regarding the readers or the storyline.
    • Mood is specifically a feeling created by the writing.
    • The important thing about tone/mood is that it serves to strengthen the connection between author and audience. Readers who are attentive to tone/mood are better able to analyze the author’s perspective and are able to make more accurate inferences about the author’s message. Authors use tone to give their writer’s voice some personality and, in some cases, authority – which helps readers to care one way or the other about the message. The mood created in a text is designed to elicit a response from the reader. In this way, tone/mood strengthen and deepens communication between author and audience.

    Diction and Word Choice

    One of the subtle ways authors create their writing style is by their use of diction. Diction is another way of saying ‘word choice.’ If someone tells you that you have ‘good diction,’ they’re saying that you have a good vocabulary and you use it well. Diction is something to pay attention to when you are reading, listening, speaking or writing.

    Homework 4: Reading Process and Analysis

    Read the article provided by your instructor for Homework 4. Follow and complete the steps for SQ3R, making notes in your notebook. Answer the following questions in complete sentences and paragraphs when appropriate.

    1. Analyze the author’s purpose.
    2. Create a graphic organizer of the information.
    3. Summarize the information using a strategy we have learned in this class.
    4. Identify the subtleties by making an Inference Chart.
    5. Explain the tone and mood, giving examples to support your ideas.
    6. Explain the diction and word choice, giving examples to support your ideas.

    Be prepared to discuss your analysis with the class.

    This page titled 4.3: Creating Tone and Mood with Thoughtful Diction is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Amee Schmidt & Donald Winter.

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