Coupon Accepted Successfully!


Understanding the Style and Tone of the Passage


Different writers adopt different ways to present their ideas, and even while using the similar writing techniques the author may reflect a different outlook, his way of looking at things. Therefore, to develop a better under­standing of the text that is critical to answering questions in the CAT, it is important to understand the style and tone of the passage.

The style of the passage refers to how the ideas have been presented. It is the technique used by the author to convey his/her ideas. The style of writing depends on a variety of factors like the choice of words, clarity and accuracy of expression, sentence length, variety and structure, lucidity or complexity of language used.

Writing Styles

  1. The author could use a narrative style in which things move like a story; with a definite beginning, middle and end. It is characterized by a personal touch to the description of events.
  2. Descriptive style of writing reports the details of a person, place, thing or event. It is more like a news report you see in the front page of a daily newspaper. The writer begins in a general manner, and then offers a detailed description of the subject.
  3. Analytical style of writing, as the name suggests, involves a detailed treatment of an issue or situation. The author dives deep and tries to follow the chain of reasoning and draw inferences. The author weighs the different points of view in favour of or against his argument before arriving at any conclusion.
  4. When the author uses the argumentative style of writing, he analyses the topic after taking a stand. He tries to persuade the reader using a chain of reasoning, evidence or suggestions. It is a variant of the analytical style of writing.

Tone of Writing

The word tone generally refers to the quality of sound. But, when we refer to the tone of the passage, it refers to the predominant emotion or absence of it displayed by the author. The tone also reflects the attitude of the author towards a subject or character. Any predominant emotion may, thus become the author’s tone.

Broadly, the tones can be classified as subjective or objective in nature. An objective tone is used when the author does not choose any side, and remains a neutral and detached observer. On the contrary a subjective tone reflects the emotion displayed by the author. Some of the common tones used by the authors are listed as follows:

Critical: Denotes negative or fault finding attitude of the author. Sometimes, the word critical is also used to denote deep analysis of the issue with a neutral outlook.

Laudatory/Eulogistic: To shower high praise on somebody or something.

Cynical: A higher degree of pessimism coupled with a sense of scepticism and helplessness.

Satirical: To use humour as a tool for healthy criticism.

Sarcastic: To use the words opposite to what you mean to taunt or make fun of somebody.

Didactic: When the author tries to teach or instruct through his writing.

Nostalgic: Conveys a sense of longing for the past.


Example :
Identify the tone of the passages given below.

Test Your Skills Now!
Take a Quiz now
Reviewer Name