Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Terms for Tones

Often my students enter my class with a very small palette of tone-terms to work with. As a result, they talk about poems as though they were composed in primary colors: happy, sad, angry, sarcastic, and maybe one or two more.

If your students have that problem, they might find this useful: a handy-dandy Tone Vocabulary List. If you spot any missing useful terms, let me know & I'll add them. For an assignment that uses this list--a fully developed "class plan," actually--go here and click on the pdf called "The Tone Map."

Terms for Tones

abashed

abrasive

abusive

acquiescent

accepting

acerbic

admiring

adoring

affectionate

aghast

allusive

amused

angry

anxious

apologetic

apprehensive

approving

arch

ardent

argumentative

audacious

awe-struck

bantering

bemused

benevolent

biting

bitter

blithe

boastful

bored

brisk

bristling

brusque

calm

candid

caressing

caustic

cavalier

childish

child-like

clipped

cold

complementary

condescending

confident

confused

coy

confused

contemptuous

conversational

critical

curt

cutting

cynical

defamatory

denunciatory

detached

despairing

detatched

devil-may-care

didactic

disbelieving

discouraged

disdainful

disparaging

disrespectful

doubtful

dramatic

dreamy

dry

ecstatic

entranced

enthusiastic

eulogistic

exhilarated

exultant

facetious

fanciful

fearful

flippant

fond

forceful

frightened

frivolous

ghoulish

giddy

gleeful

glum

grim

guarded

guilty

happy

harsh

haughty

heavy-hearted

hollow

horrific

humorous

hypercritical

indifferent

indignant

indulgent

ironic

irreverent

joking

joyful

languorous

languid

laudatory

light-hearted

lingering

loving

marveling

melancholy

mistrustful

mocking

mocking

mysterious

naïve

neutral

nostalgic

objective

peaceful

pessimistic

pitiful

playful

poignant

pragmatic

proud

provocative

questioning

reflective

reminiscing

reproachful

resigned

respectful

restrained

reticent

reverent

rueful

sad

sarcastic

sardonic

satirical

satisfied

seductive

self-critical

self-dramatizing

self-justifying

self-mocking

self-pitying

self-satisfied

sentimental

serious

severe

sharp

shocked

silly

sly

smug

somber

stern

straightforward

stentorian

strident

stunned

subdued

swaggering

sweet

sympathetic

taunting

tense

thoughtful

threatening

tired

touchy

trenchant

uncertain

understated

upset

urgent

vexed

vibrant

whimsical

withering

wry

zealous

4 comments:

Sarah Korenman said...

What a positively fantastic list. In my poetry workshop, "whimsical" gets thrown around quite a bit. That, and "melancholy." Carl Marcum would probably like to throw this list at my class sometimes. Except..."mocking" is listed twice. Or is that intentional? Are you mocking me? Hmm...

Isaac said...

Thanks

Ralph S. and Daniel S. said...

Do you know about Toad Pizza (toadpizza.com)? There are more than 1,500 pizza slice-shaped poems in a collection that's been building for the past 15 years and which has another 10 creative word plays added every month. Do check it out.

Cheers,

Ralph & Daniel
TOO NUTS PRODUCTIONS, LP
"Creatively entertaining while covertly educating!" (TM)

Anonymous said...

Excellent list. Thanks a lot. This will be a big help!