1/17/17 Skill Practice

Today on opened I learned how to use text-based clues correctly and use of word choice and tone:

Meaning of Words and Phrases

Text Base Clues (Context Clues)

  • Use the surrounding words to find the meaning
    • Punctuation clues
      • Ex. “The deluge, a flood of rain, threatened to wash the little town away.” (definition of deluge is within the commas)
    • Definition clues
      • Ex. “The mansion’s piazza resembled a large uncovered patio” (Resembled, joins the piazza with its meaning)
    • Contrast clues
      • Ex. “My sister is extremely neat in appearance while she is slovenly in her housekeeping.” (use of word indicates that slovenly means the opposite of neat)
    • Comparison clues
      • Ex. “Taking out the garbage can be an onerous task; likewise, washing the dishes can be a hard job.” (likewise is used to compare onerous to hard. Use clue to deduce that onerous means hard or taxing)
    • Example clues
      • Ex. “Edifices, such as skyscrapers or condominiums, are found in cities.” (since skyscrapers and condominiums are structures or buildings, we know that edifices are also structures or building)

Connotative Meanings: Implied or suggested in addition to what was explicitly said.

Figurative Language:

  • Similes: explicit comparisons between two very dissimilar things
    • Ex. her eyes were like daggers, piercing at me.
  • Metaphors: a word or phrase that denotes one idea is used to mean a completely different thing
    • Ex. the world’s a stage, and we are merely players.
  • Personification: a metaphor where an idea is attributed distinctive human characteristics
    • Ex. my sword yearns to be unsheathed
  • Irony: words convey the opposite of their literal meaning
    • Ex. I am so glad I’m living through this delightful storm
  • Hyperbole: overstating the meaning with exaggerated terms
    • Ex. I am so hungry, I could eat a giraffe
  • Litote: negating the opposite word of the meaning to emphasize it
    • Ex. his story is not bad at all
  • Synecdoche: a part of an idea is used to represent the entire idea, vice versa
    • Ex. Amy is three years old and she already knows her ABCs.
  • Onomatopoeia: forming words that imitate sounds associated with things or actions that they refer to
    • Ex. she wore so many ankle bracelets that her feet jangled when she walked
  • Cliche

Tone: how the author expresses his attitude in his writing

  • Formal Tone
  • Informal Tone

Word Choice and Tone

Writers alter information so the reader can received without changing it. Writers can convey meaning in direct and indirect ways. Word choice and tone can make a big difference in presenting information to the reader.


Word Choice:

  • Refers to the writer’s choice of vocabulary to convey meaning
  • When conveying the same idea, differences in word choice can change how the reader interprets ideas
  • Words can carry both direct and indirect meanings
  • Types of meaning
    • Denotation
      • The explicit definition of the word; the idea contains outright
      • Conveys the explicit meaning of a text
      • Used in technical texts where information must be given
    • Connotation
      • Hidden meanings and ideas associated with the word
      • Conveys the implied meaning of a text
      • Used in informal texts to veil meanings or to allow readers to reach their own conclusions
    • Figure of Speech
      • Words are used by comparing one meaning with another which is familiar to the reader
      • Words are not used in their usual sense
      • Creates “figures” in the mind which convey faster and more vividly
      • Ideas become easy to visualize and are emphasized

Determining Tone:

  • Word Choice
  • Point of view
  • Context

Using Word Choice and Tone:

  • Official texts use a formal tone with clear words
  • Argumentative essays may use emotion and imply meanings by word choice
  • Literary texts use vivid imagery and freely use emotional and informal tones

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