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English HS-101

Word Skills: Using the Right Tone

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

Your word choice (diction) will determine


the tone of your language.

Using the right tone is important_ the


way your reader responds to your writing
will depend on it.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

Tone (defined)

What exactly is tone?

Tone = the voice any text develops as a


result of the writers attitude towards

the

subject matter/topic
the reader
Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,
HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

Types of Tone

Tone can be colloquial, informal or formal,


depending on the degree of formality
involved.

Tone can also vary depending on the feelings


of the writer.

There are as many different kinds of tones as


there are emotions.
(Wyrick 2011)
Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,
HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

Expression (Suggesting Triumph)

Tones

I am grateful to have won this medal


for running. My opponents are
modest, humble,
wonderful athletes and I was lucky to generous
beat them today.
Hand over that medal! Ive passed
the test, and Im the best.

arrogant, haughty,
humorous, amusing

Oh my God! I won! I won! I cant


believe it.

excited, thrilled,
shocked, disbelieving
Source: Langan, J. (2010). Reading and Study Skills.
(9th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

Source: Langan, J. (2010). Reading and Study


Skills. (9th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

List of Emotions that Describe


Tone
Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,
HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

Tones to Watch Out For

Certain tones can invite a negative


reaction from your reader.

Certain other tones are inappropriate for


academic writing.

Wherever possible, avoid these tones.


Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,
HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

Tone to Avoid
1. Invective or
Aggression

Definition
unrestrained anger, usually
expressed in the form of
violent accusation or
denunciation

2. Sarcasm

bitter, derisive remarks that


aim at poking fun at someone

3. Irony

figure of speech in which you


say the opposite of what you
mean
Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,
HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

Tone to Avoid
4. Flippancy or cuteness

Definition
an attempt to be funny when the
occasion requires seriousness;
sounding bored or unconcerned
about something important

5. Sentimentality

excessive show of emotion,


especially cheap, insincere emotion

6. Preachiness

showing an Im better than you


attitude; showing smugness about
being right or about having more
knowledge than someone else

7. Pomposity or
Pretentiousness

an attempt to sound scholarly,


scientific, or sophisticated which
makes you Noor
seem
phony
Yasmeen,
Lecturer,
HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

EXERT YOURSELF

Determine which label best suits the tone of the


writer in each of the following expressions.

Compare with the alternative expression to


determine your answer.

In some cases, more than one tone may be


discernible.
Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,
HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 1

I would appreciate it very much if each of


you remember that if there are any future
occasions when it is necessary to bring
matters like this regarding refunds to my
attention to send your message to the
Customer Service Department with a
copy to me rather than sending the
message directly to my attention.
Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,
HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

Please send all future messages regarding


refunds directly to Customer Service and
forward a copy to me.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 2

My dog, Cuddles, is the sweetest, cutest,


most precious little puppy dog in the
whole wide world, and she will always be
my best friend.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

My dog is great. I love her.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 3

There is always room for improvement, is


there not, in all human beings? If we all
try just a little bit harder to curb our
selfishness and greed, this world could
become such a beautiful, heavenly abode
for us all!

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

This world can become a better place if


we all curb our selfishness and greed.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 4

You have clearly failed once again to


understand the main points in my memo.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

I need to explain to you several key


points in my memo.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 5

Obviously, your thinking on this issue is so


far-fetched and in the twilight zone of
incredible absurdity that only a half-wit
could understand what you are trying to
say.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

There are some points in your comments


that I would appreciate your clarifying.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 6

We told you and we cannot stress this in


clearer terminology that we have
absolutely no interest in your invention.
It has no real applicability to our current
needs or modes of application.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

Your invention is of limited use to us at


the moment so we cannot offer to buy it.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 7

We find ourselves under no further


obligation to assist you in this matter.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

We have given you all the help we can in


this matter.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 8

In the future see to it that this office does


not have to remind you to submit your
expense vouchers on time.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

Please remember you must submit your


expense vouchers on time.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 9

The purpose of this letter is to provide


information to you which you requested
regarding the existence of a grace period
for payment of said medical insurance
policy. Please be advised that the
aforementioned is of a duration of 10
days following premium, the due date
having previously been established at the
outset of said policy.
Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,
HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

After the due date, your medical


insurance policy allows a 10-day grace
period to submit payment.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 10

We are sorry for any discomfort you may


have experienced in attempting to use
our product, but we can't assume any
blame for your failing to carefully read the
directions. How in heaven's name could
you have imagined that you did not have
to remove the foil before use?
Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,
HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

We are sorry for any discomfort you may


have experienced in attempting to use
our product, but we can't assume any
blame for your failing to carefully read the
directions. We expect all customers to
read the instructions label carefully.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 11

I can see that youre no genius. I suggest


you read these instructions again.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

You have not understood these


instructions. I suggest you read them
again.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 12

You are clearly a genius! Its obvious you


dont need to read these instructions.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

Please read these instructions again as


you have not yet understood them.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 13

I think my worthy opponent is clearly


mistaken in his views. Let me explain to
him why that is so. Im sure he will find
my analysis to his advantage.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

My opponent has made some excellent


points but I think he will find my analysis
useful too.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 14

Let me assure you there is no better way


to cook eggs in winter. Any other way to
do it is all wrong. Here, let me show you
how. Im sure youll agree with me once
you see how easy it is to do it this way.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

I have found this to be the best way to


cook eggs in winter. You might like to try
it.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 15

Brothers and sisters, the poor of this


country ask not for a bed of roses, merely
that they may earn their bread and butter
through honest means. This government
will travel to the end of the world and
back to support them on this noble
mission.
Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,
HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

The poor of this country just want to


earn their bread and butter honestly and
this government will do its best to help
them achieve this goal.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 16

Brothers and sisters, the poor of this


country ask not for a bed of roses, but
just for their daily bread and butter. Or
rather desi ghee.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

Brothers and sisters, the poor of this


country ask not for a bed of roses, but
just for their daily bread and butter.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 17

As I fell into slumber, I cogitated about my


sojourn through the breath-taking
splendor and the exquisite grace of the
Hunza Mountains.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Alternative

As I fell asleep I thought about my


wonderful journey through the amazing
Hunza Mountains.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Text 18

The beauty of the morning washed over


my senses, drowning me in a plethora of
exquisite emotions that drove out all
worries and anxieties, leaving me as free
and unconcerned about lifes troubles as a
new-born baby.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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The morning was so exquisitely beautiful


it made me forget all my worries and
troubles.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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The Best Tone


To achieve the appropriate tone, be as sincere,
forthright, and reasonable as you can. Let the
tone of your essay establish a basis of mutual
respect between you and your reader.

(Wyrick 2011)
Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,
HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Acknowledgements

The texts used in this exercise were derived (in some cases
adapted) from the following sources:

Iacone, S. J. (2003). Write to the Point: How to


Communicate in Business with Style and Purpose.
Franklin Lakes: Career Press.
Wyrick, J. (2011). Steps to Writing Well (with Additional
Readings). (8th ed.). Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Kirszner, G. L. & Mandell, S. R. (2008). The Wadsworth
Handbook. (8th ed.). Boston: Thomson Higher Education.
Brannon, B. (2010). A Writers Workshop: Crafting
Sentences, Building Paragraphs. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,


HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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Bibliography

Iacone, S. J. (2003). Write to the Point: How to Communicate in


Business with Style and Purpose. Franklin Lakes: Career Press.

Wyrick, J. (2011). Steps to Writing Well (with Additional Readings). (8th


ed.). Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Kirszner, G. L. & Mandell, S. R. (2008). The Wadsworth Handbook. (8th


ed.). Boston: Thomson Higher Education.

Alred, G. J.,Brusaw C. T. & Oliu W. E. (2009). Handbook of Technical


Writing. (9th ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martins.

Brandon, L. & Brandon, K. (2011). Paragraphs and Essays: With


Integrated Readings. (11th ed.). Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Brannon, B. (2010). A Writers Workshop: Crafting Sentences, Building


Paragraphs. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Noor Yasmeen, Lecturer,
HITEC University, Taxila Cantt.

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