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DIDLS. English 2 Honors. 1. DIDLS. D: Diction I: Imagery D: Details L: Language S: Structure/Syntax. 2. Diction. Use diction, the connotation of word choice , to find tone Writer’s purpose , to entertain, convince, amuse, inform, plead, etc., partly determines diction

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English 2 Honors



D: Diction

I: Imagery

D: Details

L: Language

S: Structure/Syntax



  • Use diction, the connotation of word choice, to find tone

  • Writer’s purpose, to entertain, convince, amuse, inform, plead, etc., partly determines diction

  • Diction differs on occasion. Like clothing, a more formal occasion demands a more formal language. Writer’s purpose, to entertain, convince, amuse, inform, plead, etc., partly determines diction

  • Diction differs on occasion. Like clothing, a more formal occasion demands a more formal language.


Diction/LanguageLevels of Diction = LanguageDiction = word choiceLanguage = entire body of words used in a text

  • Words can be monosyllabic (one syllable in length) or polysyllabic (more than one syllable in length. The higher the ratio of polysyllabic words, the more difficult the content.


Diction language

  • High Formal

    • Polysyllabic and elegant word choice

      • “In the latter part of the last century, there lived a man of science, an eminent proficient in every branch of natural philosophy, who not long before our story opens had made experience of a spiritual affinity more attractive than any chemical one.” Hawthorne “The Birthmark”

  • Neutral

    • No elaborate words

      • “In the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it anymore. It was cold in the fall in Milan and the dark came very early.” Hemingway “In Another Country”


Diction language1

  • Informal/Low

    • Everyday language, common, simple

      • “I know about Masenier because I was there. I seen him die. We didn’t tell anybody the truth because it seemed so shameful, the way he died. It was too awful to describe to other people. But I was there, even though I didn’t want to be, and I seen it all.” Gap Creek, Morgan


Types of diction formal vs informal writing
Types of DictionFormal vs. Informal Writing

  • Formal

  • No contractions

  • No first or second person pronouns UNLESS writing a personal essay (not a literary analysis or research paper)

  • Common terms

  • Informal

  • Contractions okay

  • First and second person okay

  • Slang/ jargon


Formal informal language
Formal/Informal Language

  • Read the following statements and decide whether they are written with formal or informal language and explain why:

    • When I look at the situation in emergency wards, with many staff leaving, it’s hard not to worry about how many doctors will be available to treat patients in the future.



Formal informal language1
Formal/Informal Language

  • It appears that in a number of instances jobs were assigned on the basis of gender. Given the current anti-discrimination laws, this raises serious concerns.



Formal informal language2
Formal/Informal Language

  • It is so obvious that people were given jobs just because they were male or female. I do not think that is an acceptable approach and is even against the law.



Concrete abstract
Concrete/ Abstract

  • Concrete: specific

  • Abstract: general or conceptual

  • For Example

  • Concrete: heart

  • Abstract: love


Euphonious cacophonous

  • Euphonious: pleasant sounding

    • languid, luxurious, exude, serendipity, surreptitious

  • Cacophonous: harsh sounding

    • crackle, crunchy,


Denotation connotation

  • Denotation: dictionary definition

    • politician: a leader engaged in civil administration

  • Connotation: containing a suggested meaning

    • politician:


Denotation connotation1

  • Look at the following statements and choose the word that has the most pleasant connotative meaning.

  • As soon as my mother gets her paycheck she heads out to shop. We can count on her to bring back ____ purchases for all of us!

    • impulsive

    • spontaneous

    • hasty


Denotation connotation2

  • Not everyone has the capacity to be as _______ the ins and outs of cyberspace as I am.

    • captivated by

    • obsessed with

    • addicted to

  • My mother wrote a note about my absence saying I was too ______ to come to school.

    • sick

    • ailing

    • diseased


Denotation connotation3

  • Look at the following list of words and rank them from least negative sounding to most negative sounding. Notice, all the words have the same denotative meaning.

  • poor, destitute, fortuneless, needy, poverty-stricken, low, impoverished

  • dishonest, deceitful, shifty, knavish,


Denotation connotation4

  • Look at the following slogans. Rewrite them so that they have the same denotative meanings but no longer have the same connotations. After each change, note the difference in connotation on your paper. What is the difference in the strength and overall effect of the statement?


Denotation connotation5

  • AVIS: “We try harder”

  • NIKE: “Just do it”

  • BURGER KING: “Have it your way.”

  • AT&T: “Reach out and touch someone.”

  • VOLKSWAGON: “Drivers wanted”

  • VISA: “It’s everywhere you want to be.”

  • KFC: “Finger lickin’ good.”

  • BMW: “The ultimate driving machine.”

  • L OREAL: “Because I’m worth it.”

  • ARMY: “Be all you can be.”

  • WHEATIES: “Breakfast of champions”

  • CAMPBELLS SOUP: “M’m! M’m! Good!”


Denotation connotation6

  • Time to apply this concept to literature! SO FUN!!!!

  • Using everything you have learned so far, analyze the following passage from Venison by Karen Chase.

  • Pay special attention to the connotation of the words used.


Denotation connotation7

  • Paul set the bags down, told how they had splitthe deer apart, the ease of peeling itsimpler than skinning a fruit, how the bucklay on the worktable, how they sawedan anklebone off, the smell not rank.The sun slipped into night.