The tone of an author or narrator is the attitude that is conveyed about the subject that is being described. Consider the words the author uses to evoke a reaction out of a reader or how you think he or she feels about the subject. Look for tone shifts throughout the work to see how the language of the writer shapes meaning.

  • The author describes ____ with a ____ tone in order to show _____.

  • The author's tone shifts from ____ to ____ when discussing _____.

  • The author conveys the attitude of the character as _______ in this scene when ____.

  • The narrator's attitude becomes _______ when ____.

  • The narrator shifts the tone in this scene from ______ to ______ in order to show _____.

How does the author convey his attitude in the work through his language? Are there significant tone shifts, and how do they contribute to the main ideas?

negative tones: melancholy, caustic, irate, satiric, critical, indignant, bitter, condescending, judgmental

positive tones: reverent, light hearted, optimistic, hopeful, loving, jovial

neutral tones:reminiscent wistful, apathetic, speculative, meditative, objective, reflective

Consider some of the TONE WORD LISTS online for ideas:

What is BIAS?

Bias means showing a preference for one thing over another. When it comes to our news sources, the information should be bias-free in an ideal world; however, in reality, we know that practically every media source carries some sort of bias.

Bias in the media can occur through:

  • Selection & Omission--choosing to tell only parts of the story

  • Placement-- where the story appears in the newspaper or during news hour or on a website

  • Headlines-- often crafted to catch attention and sell papers rather than report facts

  • Word Choice and Tone--using sensational and emotional words to dramatize the events

  • Photos/Captions/Camera Angles --making one person look good and another bad, for example

  • Names & Titles --calling a person a “bad guy” instead of by his name, for example

  • Statistics & Crowd Counts--dramatizing numbers for effect

  • Source Control--using information or sources that only show or support one side of a story

What is the difference between the TONE and the MOOD in a story?

1) The tone is the attitude conveyed by the narrator/author/character and is described with an adjective.



2) The mood is the way the reader perceives the atmosphere created by the attitude conveyed by the narrator/author/character.


angry tone could result in a tense mood or atmosphere for the reader

  • A lighthearted tone could result in a cheerful mood or atmosphere for the reader

  • A wrathful and indignant tone could result in a hostile mood or atmosphere for the reader

  • A fearful tone could result in a dreadful mood or atmosphere for the reader

  • An accusatory, caustic tone from the author or character could result in a thrilling and suspenseful mood or atmosphere for the reader