Tone words for VCE language analysis

When writing a language analysis essay for VCE English, you should always comment on the author’s tone and how the author’s tone is designed to persuade their audience.

However, some tone words – such as “calm”, “negative”, or “passionate” are overused by VCE students in their English language analysis essays. While there is nothing wrong with these words, consider using alternative terms to make your essay stand out to exam markers.

Below is a list of commonly used tone words and some less common alternatives you should try to incorporate into your language analysis essays.

Alternative tone words for VCE language analysis

For a printable PDF of this study resource, please click here:  Tone words for VCE English Language Analysis PDF.

Calm, logical, reasoned Reasoned, measured, raional, considered, moderate, respectful, earnest, reassuring, laid-back, frank, sensible, serious, reflective
Excited, angry, passionate Aggressive, antagonistic, mocking, disrespectful, emotional, fervent, ardent, vehement, assertive, emotive, pleading, outraged
Complaining or otherwise negative Embittered, resentful, appalled, pessimistic, despondent, anxious, disgusted, sarcastic, disparaging, bitter, biting, critical, frustrated, hostile, disillusioned, hostile, pessimistic
Positive or happy Hopeful, enthusiastic, humorous, optimistic, confident, encouraging, supportive, admiring, approving,
Neutral Impartial, balanced, objective, detached, dispassionate, guarded
Disrespectful Disbelieving, ridiculing, sarcastic, incredulous, sceptical
Casual Colloquial, relaxed, friendly, approachable
Kind Compassionate, empathetic, understanding, affable, collegial, amicable.
Over the top Dramatic, hyperbolic
Sad Wistful, doleful, sorrowful, pessimistic, cheerless, woeful
Firm Uncompromising, assertive, commanding, forceful
Warning Cautionary, foreboding, advisory
Pinnable image for VCE language analysis alternative tone words