Word choice and tone

Word choice and tone

I can analyze an author's word choice to determine the tone of a text.

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Word choice and tone

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In this lesson, students will learn how to use different words to determine an author's tone. They will review connotations of words and then read several short passages to determine the tone. At the end of the lessons, students will show what they learned by writing their own short stories.



Learning objective

Students will be able to analyze an author's word choice to determine the tone of a text.


Discuss the difference in strength with words like "good" and "cloudy" compared to words such as "amazing" and dreary." Next, students will discuss words that negative, neutral, and positive connotations, "stench," "smell," and "fragrance." Explain why it is important to determine an author's tone.


Review the concept of tone. Students will read examples of negative, neutral, and positive tone words, and then think of additional words for each category. Students will learn to look at aspects of texts, like characters, setting, details, and general word choice to determine the author's tone.

They will read two short passages and determine the author's tone of each. Next, they will read three more passages and highlight words and phrases that give clues to the tone. They will also read descriptions and match them to tone words. For example, they may read, "An old, abandoned house," and match it to "foreboding." Then, students will describe settings to match their tone words, "excited" and "depressed." They will make predictions to short stories based on the tone.


Students will answer ten questions in which they analyze text given and identify tone of given words.


Students will recall what they learned:
- What are some reasons it's important to identify tone?
- How can identifying the tone help us understand a text?

Students will write a short story choosing specific words to convey a certain tone.

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