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Questions tagged [tone]

Questions on the general character or attitude of a phrase, sentence or other form of written language.

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Anything wrong with “Let me come up with a more interesting exercise”? [migrated]

In the previous year I did a coding test problem when applying for a job; one of the problem requirements were of little sense to me, so I decided to replace it with a slightly different thing which I ...
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3answers
371 views

Term used when answering a question with a lowered tone?

Is there a term/phrase that can be used to describe the answering of a question with such a tone that would indicate that the answer isn't as all it seems? For example, if one person were to ask ...
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0answers
59 views

What is a word to describe the tone of an author who reveals a lot of information in a few sentences?

Is there a word to describe the tone of an author who tells readers of the past life and attributes of a character cryptically in a short passage? Is this considered tone, or is there another term for ...
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287 views

Appropriate tone of the passage

Recently I was reading an article on desalination. The article first talked about the paucity of water and then introduced desalination as a necessary alternative for the human survival. Afterwards, ...
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4answers
333 views

Does “nonstandard English” come across as judgmental in the following context?

I am looking for an alternative to the word nonstandard (if necessary). I used the word in my answer to a question at Academia SE. Let me first lay out the context. The question I was offering an ...
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1answer
418 views

Is “groundbreaking” a positive word, a negative word, or a neutral word? [closed]

I recently encountered the following sentence: The women's movement of the 1970's spawned the groundbreaking and influential works of socialists and historians. I was asked to analyze whether this ...
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4answers
4k views

Nonvulgar synonym for “smartass”

I just read a question here at ELU where a certain user, I'll call him A, disagreed with the premise in the question. He wrote a comment to disagree with the premise, and wrote that actually, such-...
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2answers
224 views

More informal verb to go with “rapport”

I want to say that two people established a good rapport. But the context is quite informal, and "established" sounds stuffy in my context. What other verb(s) could I use in place of establish here? ...
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4answers
575 views

Need softer, less potentially offensive word for “malapropism” [closed]

Background: My spouse is German, and tends to misuse some words in English, and also tends to get some idioms a bit garbled. For example, to my spouse, "school" is synonymous with "grade school," and ...
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14answers
4k views

More formal way of saying “sloppy”?

I am writing a formal document. It is a petition to appeal an administrative law decision. The decision is jam-packed full of sloppy mistakes of every kind imaginable. (The guy who wrote it couldn'...
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1answer
123 views

Is *holy*, used sarcastically, potentially offensive? [closed]

Do I need to replace holy with sacred in the following formal writing, because a Christian reader might take offense? The poor survey design and irresponsible use of the results left the parents ...
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1answer
64 views

Tone and formality of the word “loth”

On this Economist article, the journalist uses the word loth in the following sentence: (...) they are loth to do this. Checking the definition online I found: adj. unwilling; reluctant I get the ...
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2answers
138 views

Does past tense soften tones?

What goes in the blank here? In order for your website to be modern and professional, it is my suggestion that every product ______ more detailed specifications.... have should have shall have ...
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1answer
186 views

Reflexive pronouns to affect false intellectual tone

In the comments on this answer from another question, a discussion was started regarding the way native speakers use reflexive pronouns to sound "more intellectual" (for example: "I myself have found ...
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4answers
4k views

Sardonic or sarcastic tone?

Is this sentence sarcastic or sardonic? "But that, as far as I can tell, is not my point." (from Dave Barry's "Lost in the Kitchen")
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2answers
22k views

What’s the difference between “concerning” and “regarding”?

Is there a notable distinction between “concerning” and “regarding”, be it in tone alone? I—a non-native—wondered about this when starting a sentence about the weather: Regarding the weather, … ...
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1answer
7k views

Is it appropriate to say “just checking in and see if there is anything that I can help with” to your boss in an email? [closed]

Is the phrase "check in" too informal to say to anyone other than your friend? And the same question for "check back". In addition, is there any other way to say "reach out" in a work email?
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7answers
2k views

Word to describe a sarcastic, condescending tone/remark [closed]

I'm struggling to find the most appropriate word to describe the following type of remark (italicized), or the tone behind it: "I wish I could talk to him right now..." "There's this great ...
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2answers
2k views

“We have stood” and using correct tense with the tone of an article

English Stack community, we're seeking help with an internal debate concerning tense use while considering the desired tone of an article. In the following sentence, is the use of "we have stood" ...
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2answers
594 views

Is there a word that describes a somewhat subtle, critical remark that an author uses in their writing?

Here are some examples of what I mean: From Kate Chopin's The Awakening: "'You are burnt beyond recognition,' he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which ...
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2answers
500 views

Word for making an implication with tone

Sometimes when people use the name of the person they're talking to in a statement it's used to dismiss the discussion at hand. For example, "Because the sky is blue, Alice" or "If you have two two's, ...
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1answer
2k views

How to be both polite and persuasive?

Context: I have to persuade the recipient to close the billing cycle by today and I have to be polite, since the recipient holds a very high position. I urge you to expedite the billing of ModuleXYZ ...
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1answer
2k views

When is it appropriate to say that a garment looks “flattering”

Recently, I've begun hearing the word "flattering" in apparently sincere compliments. In one scenario, a friend complimented someone on their new shirt by saying that it "looked very flattering." ...
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1answer
1k views

The Relationship Between Style Analysis, Tone, and Voice in Analyzing Writing

Today I was a substitute in a 9th grade AP Humanities class with lesson plans that asked me to present a PowerPoint, titled "Marigolds Style Analysis Structured Paragraph," that asked students to ...
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1answer
2k views

Is “I wish to” more peremptory than “I would like to”?

Would you say that "I wish" carries some sort of peremptory tone, or none at all? The difference being in the context of a presentation: "I wish to introduce an idea" vs. "I would like to ...
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1answer
535 views

What is the tone of this line?

I am preparing for an aptitude test and then I came to a question. I need to find the 'tone' of a line that is written below. John likes work, it fascinates him! He can sit and look at it for hours. ...
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2answers
498 views

Is the use of “long since” archaic?

As a non English speaker, I'm writing a profile in which I want to say something along the lines of: I've long since developed an interest for.... In context I feel it flows better than the (more ...
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1answer
233k views

Difference in tone between Regards, Best regards, Kind regards and Sincerely in emails [duplicate]

I often end my emails just with "Regards, FirstName". But I also often see "Best regards", "Kind regards" and "Sincerely". What is the difference in tone and meaning? Is one more formal than the ...
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3answers
7k views

What is a tone word to describe how someone may feel like they do not belong? [closed]

I have world literature homework, and i have to discuss a shift in tone. A character is feeling like she doesn't belong to any cultural group... help?
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1answer
53 views

Do I <verb> …?

Do I get all my packages? Do I get any food for supper? Do I have ....? Does this kind of sentence pattern starting with "Do I " when said as expressions for querying information sound more ...
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1answer
245 views

Extending a sentence with a semicolon

Which version is better, grammatically? How can I improve this? Is the grammar legal? I want to extend the end of a sentence, like so- "Life means I have a choice at every turn; every moment." "Life ...
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2answers
3k views

Connotations: “sanguine” vs “sanguinary”

I broadened this question after encountering sanguinary. 1. sanguine: optimistic or positive, especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation: 2. sanguinary {archaic}: involving or ...
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1answer
3k views

Is asking “come again?” to a complete stranger over the phone rude?

My Irish colleague told me that when talking to a customer over the phone asking:"come again?" is considered rude and even offensive since it is very informal and almost demanding. Now I did not ...
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2answers
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How can I improve this introduction? [closed]

Hi, I'm bernk. I'm here to make interacting with digital products a positive experience for us all. Why are you here? More importantly, does it read positive or negative to you?
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4answers
3k views

Meaning and tone of “Offhand I do not know…”

Two days ago I sent a mail to a university I am interested in, asking for the ratio of Early-Decision–accepted students to Regular-Decision–accepted ones. I received this answer part of larger mail. ...
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1answer
228 views

Does the word “former” as in “former employee” shed negative light on the subject?

Does writing, Former technologist at Foobar, Inc. and Hello, World Ltd. have a deprecating tone to it? Say, as opposed to, Previously a technologist at Foobar, Inc. and Hello, World Ltd. That ...
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1answer
297 views

Connotation of “to expatiate”

Only the online Cambridge dictionary marks the verb “to expatiate” as ‘formal disapproving’. Nowhere else could I find the reference to a ‘disapproving’ connotation, although all the online ...
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1answer
986 views

What does it mean when too much formality can appear menacing?

What does it mean when too much formality can appear menacing? Consider the responses when one asks for a lemon: "Do you have any lemons in your fridge?" "No, sorry" "Nah" "No, I don't think so." ...
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4answers
188k views

Does “renege” have any racial overtones, or is it otherwise offensive?

I used the word "renege" in a meeting the other day (something like, "the vendor decided to renege on their offer of shipping replacement SAN disks"), and got a few wide eyes. My supervisor sat me ...
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2answers
544 views

Does using an adverb three times almost always imply the opposite?

Dana is very, very, very nice. A real housewife of Beverly Hills It seems that almost exclusively, the reiteration of a such a clarifier - very in this case - ends up actually meaning the exact ...
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2answers
100k views

What is the difference between “inflection” and “intonation”?

And which is utilized when turning this... The monkey is fat. ...into a question: The monkey is fat?
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2answers
1k views

What is the difference between “we” and “one”?

After a bit of back-and-forth looking over nosisms and the use of "one", I wonder at what purpose is truly served in choosing one over another. For example: What one finds, in the end, is peace. ...
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6answers
5k views

Are these phrases too posh-sounding for conversational English?

I'm German, and I try to speak British English as best I can, it's the language I've learned at school, and I'm always trying to be consistent. However, much of my English vocabulary and phrasing I ...
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3answers
1k views

The ambitious/arrogant tone of “I”

I don't understand why but I feel arrogant or ambitious when I use a simple sentence in active voice using "I" especially while I was writing my college essay or curriculum vitae e.g. "I managed a ...