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Tone and Figurative Language. The Indirect Ways That Writers Communicate. Understanding the Author’s Purpose. In many texts, the writer’s purpose is fairly clear . However, sometimes a writer will express an opinion indirectly .

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tone and figurative language

Tone and Figurative Language

The Indirect Ways That Writers Communicate

understanding the author s purpose

Understanding the Author’s Purpose

In many texts, the writer’s purpose is fairly clear.

However, sometimes a writer will express an opinion indirectly.

Writers use tone, style, diction, imagery, and other features of language to achieve the results they want.

understanding tone

Understanding Tone

  • Refers to the author’s attitude toward his/her subject.
  • Think of how you interpret the tone of a speaker’s voice.
  • Pay attention to word choice, types and length of sentences (syntax), and detail.
  • Tone is important in determining the author’s purpose…aka- Theme.

Examples of Tone










style and intended audience

Style and Intended Audience

Style may be defined as the characteristics that make a writer unique.

Depending upon whom the writer is addressing, he/she will change the level of language, method of presentation, and word choice.


Express attitudes, feelings & opinions




  • Authors use language in special ways to help the reader understand and create a picture of a situation.
  • Create Descriptions
  • Making comparisons
  • Using symbols
word choice
Connotative Meanings

Opposite of Denotation

Implied Meaning

A Word’s Nuance—ideas associated with the word’s usage

May be Favorable or Unfavorable

Denotative Meanings

Literal Meaning

found in the dictionary

Factual, exact

No added meanings

Word Choice
connotation positive vs negative
Crowd, mob, gang, audience, class, congregation

Slim, skinny, slender, slight, wiry, scrawny

Intelligent, brainy, nerdy, smart, gifted

Particular, picky, fussy, meticulous, precise, exacting

Request, demand, command, appeal, plead, claim, ask

Gaudy, showy, flashy, tawdry, glitzy, jazzy

Glance, stare, look, glimpse, peek, peer, examine, gaze, scan

Take, snatch, grasp, pocket, steal, borrow

Connotationpositive vs. negative
figurative language
Figurative Language
  • Describes something that makes sense on an imaginative level but not on a factual or literal level.
  • Example:
    • Sam eats like a horse.
    • The wilted plants begged for water.
making comparisons
Making Comparisons
  • Similes and metaphors
  • Compare one object or living thing with another
  • Questions to ask yourself:
    • What two things is the author comparing?
    • Why did the author choose that comparison?
    • What do those two things have in common?
    • What are the connotations?
figurative language comparison
Figurative Language-Comparison
  • The purpose of figurative language is to paint a word picture—to help the reader visualize how something looks, feels, smells, sounds, and tastes.
    • The red sun was pasted in the sky like a wafer.
    • I will speak daggers to her, but use none.
    • Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee.
using symbols
Using Symbols
  • Symbols can be either pictures or objects that stand for ideas, people, concepts, or anything else the author decides.
  • Symbols are a communication shortcut—make ideas more understandable by connecting them with things the reader can see.
  • Common symbols: U.S. Flag (loyalty to country), Statue of Liberty (freedom), dove (peace), weight scales (law/justice), storm (foreshadowing chaos/indecision)