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How to identify Style or Tone in GMAT Reading Comprehension

GMAT Reading Comprehension Tone and StyleOne question type you are bound to encounter on the GMAT Reading Comprehension is a style or tone question. Style and tone questions are particularly rare because most of the passages will be informational articles with neutral tones. For example, it would not be very challenging if you were asked to identify the tone of a passage about the many types of metamorphic rock - such a passage would surely be neutral.   

The tone of any given passage is the author’s emotion or feeling, usually towards his subject. An author’s style is the particular way he uses language to reflect his unique authorial voice. Most style or tone questions will include the words “attitude,” “tone,” “style,” “feeling,” etc. A typical question of this type might look like this:

•  The author’s attitude toward global warming might best be described as which of the following?

•  Which of the following best describes the tone of the passage?

•  Based on the statements in lines 43-46, which of the following could be inferred about the author’s attitude toward socialism?

The best way to identify the tone of a passage is to examine certain words with positive or negative connotations. If I were writing a passage about global warming, and one sentence read “fortunately, these brilliant scientists were able to combine their wits and begin formulating promising solutions,” you should identify my tone as positive, optimistic, or reverent. I respect and honor the scientists, and I consider their research valuable and intelligent. Of course, we can imagine that an author adopt a negative tone toward the same subject. Another author might say that “the irresponsible scientists pooled together their half-baked theories to create the most egregious scare tactic of the 21st century.” Notice that positively or negatively charged word in italics - they are the keys to identifying tone.

Of course, my examples are extreme; most of the passages on the GMAT will be more neutral in tone. Most of the answer choices will be moderate. It’s usually best to avoid the extreme answer choices. If you notice that the author is slightly skeptical about her topic, don’t choose the answer choice that says she is “vehemently opposed” to her topic.

Here is an example of a tone question. The following paragraphs are exercepted from a passage about  the Iguacu Falls:

Iguacu Falls, which sit on the border between Argentina and Brazil, are said to make Niagara look like a leaky faucet. The great cataracts stretch for two and a half miles across lushly foliaged rocky outcroppings before plunging a staggering two hundred and thirty feet into the river below.

The falls region is densely forested, and is home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including a number of endangered ones. It is a paradise where parrots dive and swoop through the spray, butterflies cavort among the tropical plants and coatis, and giant otters and anteaters amble through the trees. The foliage itself varies between tropical and deciduous with orchids blushing in the shade of pines and ferns nodding gracefully in the shadow of fruit trees.



The author's attitude toward Iguacu Falls can best be described as which of the following?

A. Overweening pride.
B. Positive appreciation.
C. Mild acceptance.
D. Apathetic objectivity.
E. Cautious optimism.

Even though I’ve only included two paragraphs from the passage, we can still answer the question about the author’s tone. First, try to identify words with positive or negative connotations, or identify phrases that reveal the author’s attitude toward the falls. The first sentence reveals the author’s reverence for the falls; if the Iguacu Falls make Niagara look like a ‘leaky faucet,’ they must be pretty impressive. Further, notice the adjectives “great,” “lush,” and “graceful,” the positive noun “paradise,” and the verbs “swoop,” “amble,” and “cavort,” which evoke an Edenic portrait of the natural landscape.

The author’s attitude, in short, is purely positive. Thus, we can quickly eliminate C, D, and E. We can also eliminate A for a different reason. It would be wrong to say that the author is “proud” of Iguacu Falls; after all, he doesn’t take credit for its beauty. B is the best answer.

Remember, don’t try to project a positive or negative tone where one does not exist. If the tone is completely neutral, make sure you answer accordingly.


Author : 

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Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide (2019 Edition)


Chapters

Collecting and Interpreting Facts: GMAT Reading Comprehension    
Effective Note-taking for GMAT Reading Comprehension    
5 Questions to Speed up Summary Creation    
Mastering GMAT Reading Comprehension: 3 Best Practices    
How to Remember Information    
How to improve comprehension by Questioning the Author    
How to Read Faster    
How to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Title question
How to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Main Idea Question    
How to Answer GMAT Reading comprehension inference question    
How to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Purpose Question    
How to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Detail Question    
How to Answer the GMAT organization of passage Question    
How to Improve GMAT Reading Comprehension Score?    
Question #1: Protein-Rich Diet    
Question #2: Pregnant Women and Stress Management    
Question #3: F Losing Momentum    
Question #4: Conservatives and Automation    
Question #5: Collaboration, Team size and Performance    
Question #6: Effective Altruism    
Question #7: Loneliness Epidemic    
Question #8: Space Exploration    
Question #9: Lab-Grown Meat    
Question #10: Minimum Wage in the US    
Question #11: AI and Creativity    
Question #12: Bias Against Healthcare in Developing Economies    
Question #13: Legacy Admissions    
Question #14: Plastic Ban and alternatives    
Question #15: Underestimating Homo Sapiens    
Question #16: Conspiracy Theories    
Question #17: Relative Poverty    
Question #18: Why Paintings are expensive    
Question #19: US Obesity Epidemics    
Question #20: The Future of Advertising    
Question #21: Breaking Large Companies    
Question #22: Helicopter Parenting    
Question #23: Future of Democracy    
Question #24: Technology and Global Citizenship    

Question #25: Morality and Investment   

Answers: 157 to 294

Pages: 295

Questions: 100+


Download F1GMAT's Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide (2019 Edition)

Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide


After reading F1GMAT’s Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide, you will:

1. Complete GMAT RC Questions in less than 1 minute and 50 seconds
2. Read Faster
3. Take Notes Effectively
4. Collect and Interpret Facts
5. Speed up Summary Creation
6. Remember Information
7. Question the Author   
8. Learn to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Title question   
9. Learn to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Main Idea Question   

10.Learn to Answer GMAT Reading comprehension Inference question

11. Learn to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Detail Question   

12. Learn to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Purpose Question
12. Learn to Answer GMAT organization of passage Question
13. Learn to identify the style/tone or attitude of the author

Download Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide (2019 Edition) (100+ New Questions)









Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning



After you read F1GMAT’s Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning Guide, you will learn:

How to overcome flawed thinking in GMAT Critical Reasoning?  


How to spot Inconsistencies in Arguments  

How to eliminate out of scope answer choices using Necessary and Sufficient Conditions  

How to Paraphrase GMAT Critical Reasoning Question  

How to Answer Assumption Question Type  

How to Answer Conclusion Question Type  

How to Answer Inference Question Type  

How to Answer Strengthen Question Type  

How to Answer Weaken Question Type  

How to Answer bold-faced and Summary Question Types  

How to Answer Parallel Reasoning Questions  

How to Answer the Fill in the Blanks Question


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