Word Wall

Here is a list of tone words that might be helpful to students as they analyze the essays outlining American values:

TONE is more than merely an author’s attitude toward his/her audience and characters; it is the stylistic means by which an author conveys his/her attitude(s) in a work of literature. Tone is an integral part of a work’s meaning because it controls the reader’s response which is essential to fully experiencing literature. In order to recognize tonal shift and to interpret complexities of tone, the reader must be able to make inferences based on an active reading of the work.

Familiarize yourself with the denotations and connotations of the following tone words. This is by no means a comprehensive list! Practice utilizing adjective and adverb forms of each word. 
adjective: Leo uses a mocking tone when he describes Mr. Graham as a literary genius. 
adverb: Leo mockingly describes Mr. Graham as a literary genius. 
For more tone words and their meanings, consult a thesaurus!
ú simple, straightforward, direct, unambiguous, candid
ú indirect, understated, evasive, allusive
ú complicated, complex, difficult
ú admiring, worshipping, approving
ú complimentary, proud, effusive
ú disliking, abhorring, contemptuous
ú strident, harsh, acerbic, angry, outraged, violent
ú forceful, powerful, confident
ú energetic, vibrant
ú ironic, sardonic, sarcastic mocking, sly, wry
ú satirical, critical
ú sharp, biting
ú bitter, grim, cynical
ú interested, sympathetic, pitiful
ú hollow, detached, cold, obdurate
ú tired, boring, uninterested
ú indifferent, unconcerned, disinterested, apathetic
ú impartial, objective
ú humorous, playful, joking, frivolous
ú flippant, irreverent, facetious
ú impish, silly, sophomoric, childish
ú resigned, clam, tranquil, quiet, peaceful, reticent
ú subdued, restrained
ú sad, upset, depressed, melancholy, despairing
ú afraid, fearful, horrific, terrified, panicked
ú wistful, nostalgic, sentimental
ú solemn, serious, somber
ú apologetic, penitent, ignominious
ú recalcitrant, stubborn, rebellious
ú apprehensive, anxious, pensive
ú thoughtful, dreamy, fanciful
ú vexed, uncertain, confused, ambivalent
ú excited, exhilarated, exuberant
ú ardent, fervent, zealous
ú happy, contented, ecstatic, joyful, giddy
ú incredulous, questioning, skeptical, dubious
ú insistent, urgent, pressing
ú pertinent, pointed, incisive, poignant
ú commanding, demanding
ú exhortatory, admonishing, censorious, damning
ú condescending, arrogant, haughty, dogmatic
ú elevated, grand, lofty, bombastic, pretentious
ú oratorical, dramatic, melodramatic
ú scornful, disdainful, supercilious
ú audacious, bold, impudent, insolent
ú alluring, provocative, seductive
ú shocking, offensive, reprehensible, lurid
ú didactic, instructive



admiring, approving, reverential, awed
forceful, powerful, masterful, confident, commanding, authoritative
enthusiastic, ecstatic
concerned, interested, sympathetic, intimate, friendly
direct, honest, sincere, candid
light, humorous, comic, jovial
decorous, polite, civil


perturbed, indignant, outraged, strident, harsh, antagonistic, hostile, menacing
fearful, horrified, distraught, apprehensive; condescending, disdainful,
contemptuous, pedantic, pompous, dogmatic
despairing, regretful, melancholy, morose
apathetic, indifferent
evasive, hollow; sycophantic, obsequious
cynical, sardonic, sarcastic, bitter, irreverent
melodramatic, sentimental, saccharine, overstated
staid, uptight; prurient, salacious


calm, subdued, unconcerned, disinterested, resigned
puzzled, perplexed