Diction: Connotation - Mrs. Maldonado's English Class

Diction and Tone Chapter 11 Models for Writers Reading: Shame WHAT IS DICTION? Diction refers to a writers choice and use of words. Good diction is precise and appropriate: The words mean exactly what the writer intends,

and the words are well suited to the writers subject, purpose, and intended audience. Diction: Connotation and Denotation Both connotation and denotation refer to the meanings of words. Denotation is the dictionary meaning of a word, the literal meaning.

Connotative meanings are the associations or emotional overtones that words have acquired. Connotation and Denotation example The word home denotes a place where someone lives, but it connotes warmth, security, family, comfort, affection, and other more private thoughts and images.

The word residence also denotes a place where someone lives, but its connotations are colder and more formal. synonyms, words with very similar denotations For example- mob and crowd Deciding which to use depends largely on the connotations that each synonym has and the context in which the word is to

be used. You might say, There was a crowd at the lecture, but not There was a mob at the lecture. Good writers are sensitive to both the denotations and the connotations of words. Diction: General and Specific Words General and specific do not

necessarily refer to opposites. The same word can often be either general or specific, depending on the context: Dessert is more specific than food but more general than chocolate cream pie. Diction: Clichs A word, phrase, or expression

that has become stale through overuse is called a clich. Examples of Clichs Lets assume your roommate has just returned from an evening out. You ask her, How was the concert? She responds, The concert was okay, but they had us packed in there like sardines. How was your evening? And you reply, Well, I finished

my term paper, but the noise here is enough to drive me crazy. The dorm is a real zoo. At one time the italicized expressions were vivid and colorful, but through constant use they have grown stale and ineffective. Diction: Jargon Jargon, or technical language, is the special

vocabulary of a trade or profession. Writers use jargon with an awareness of their audience. Examples of Jargon For example, computer terms like input, output, and feedback are sometimes used in place of contribution,

result, and response in other fields, especially in business. The diction and tone of an essay are subtle forces, but they have a tremendous influence on readers. They are instrumental in determining how we will feel while reading and what attitude we will have toward its argument or the points it makes.

Readers react in a variety of ways, and it is the diction and tone of the piece that leave a strong emotional impression.

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