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Tone is defined as the writer’s or speaker’s attitude toward the subject.

Tone Vocabulary List

Developing a tone vocabulary:

Positive Tone/Attitude Words

Amiable Authoritative Calm
Compassionate Consoling Ecstatic Encouraging
Excited Friendly Impassioned Jubilant
Optimistic Playful Relaxed Soothing
Sympathetic Amused Benevolent Cheerful
Complimentary Content Elated Energetic
Exuberant Euphoric Jovial Lighthearted
Passionate Pleasant Reverent Surprised
Vibrant Appreciative Brave Cheery
Confident Dreamy Elevated Enthusiastic
Fanciful Hopeful Joyful Loving
Peaceful Proud Romantic
Sweet Whimsical

Negative Tone/Attitude Words

Accusing Condemning Inflammatory
Uninterested Irritable Hateful Short-
Tempered Irascible Audacious
Disgusted Quarrelsome Furious
Apathetic Boring Desperate Obnoxious
Aggravated Condescending Insulting Wrathful
Coarse Hurtful Threatening Brash
Harsh Superficial Belligerent
Disinterested Shameful Arrogant
Disappointed Outraged Agitated
Contradictory Irritated Childish Cold
Indignant Tired Facetious Haughty
Surly Bitter Passive Artificial
Disgruntled Critical Manipulative

Humor-Irony-Sarcasm-Scorn Tone/Attitude Words

Amused Flippant Pompous Teasing
Bantering Droll Silly Critical
Humorous Scornful Condescending Irreverent
Sardonic Caustic Insolent Ridiculing
Grim Giddy Questioning Whimsical
Facetious Patronizing Taunting Cynical
Mocking Sharp Contemptuous Joking
Satiric Comical Depressing Ironic
Bitter Provocotive Rude - Ribald Wry

Over-Used Tone/Attitude Words (try to find others)

-Happy- -Angry- -Sad- -Serious-
Sorrow-Fear-Worry Tone/Attitude Words
Aggravated Serious Paranoid Horrified
Embarrassed Apologetic Sombre Poignant
Morose Gloomy Confused Despairing
Resigned Numb Hopeless Melancholy
Agitated Sober Pessimistic Regretful
Fearful Apprehensive Stiff Disturbed
Mournful Grave Dejected Miserable
Ominous Horrific Remorseful Anxious
Solemn Pitiful Foreboding Concerned
Wistful Nervous Hollow Depressed

Neutral Tone/Attitude Words

Admonishing Resigned Nostalgic Incredulous
Dramatic Baffled Pensive Persuasive
Intimate Fervent Clinical Urgent
Questioning Lyrical Detached Objective
Allusive Restrained Informative Flat
Earnest Callous Shocking Pleading
Judgmental Formal Consoling Vexed
Reflective Matter-of-fact Histrionic Didactic
Apathetic Seductive Obsequious Inquisitive
Expectant Candid Sincere Pretentious
Learned Forthright Contemplative Wistful
Reminiscent Meditative Humble Disbelieving
Authoritative Sentimental Patriotic Instructive
Factual Ceremonial Unemotional Provocative
Loud Frivolous Conventional Zealous

A change or shift in tone will be signalled by the following:

o Key words such as but, yet, nevertheless, however, although
o Punctuation such as dashes, periods, colons, semicolons
o Stanza and paragraph divisions
o Changes in line and stanza or sentence length

VERBS from Tone Words

Console Amuse Pride Revere Elevate
Confide Aggravate Agitate Condescend (to do/to someone)
Critique Criticize Manipulate Banter Scorn
Patronize Provoke Taunt Resign (from/oneself)
Mourn Horrify Despair Admonish Alludes
Baffle Seduce Objectify Vex

NOUNS from Tone Words

Mourn Curse Extol