While this list doesn't cover every possible attitude and tone word, these are heavy hitters. If you or someone you know is taking the SAT, ACT, or SSAT, this list contains helpful definitions and test-taking tips!
Why do people write articles, speeches, or letters to the editor? Because they care deeply about a given topic. They may be passionate, interested in sharing information, intellectually curious, mildly offended, or downright steaming mad. But they won't write if they feel any of the following ways, so these words will be INCORRECT 99% of the time:
#1: APATHETIC - indifferent or unconcerned
#2: AMBIVALENT - possess mixed feelings; take it or leave it attitude
#3: SCHOLARLY - devoted to rigorous academic study, not to writing
Have no fear: the list of possibly CORRECT tone and attitude words is longer than the one above. In fact, the first word below (#4) is almost always the CORRECT answer, especially with a review of scientific or historical facts.
#4: OBJECTIVE - presenting information in an impartial manner
#5: EVENHANDED - fair treatment to all sides
#6: DIDACTIC - to instruct or teach
#7: EXUBERANT - enthusiastic
#8: SANGUINE - optimistic, positive outlook about the future
#9: INDIGNANT - outraged about a perceived injustice
#10: SARCASTIC - show contempt through use of irony and biting wit
#11: FLIPPANT - responses that are neither respectful or serious
#12: SARDONIC - a synonym for SARCASTIC; also scornful and downright nasty
#13: REFLECTIVE - thoughtful; wistful
#14: VEHEMENT - strongly worded conviction
#15: CONDESCENDING - talking down to the audience; acting superior
I'll finish up with a very important tip: on standardized tests, there is only one CORRECT answer. It must be unique, so if two possible answers are synonyms or closely related, both can be ruled out. OBJECTIVE is too similar to EVENHANDED and DIDACTIC; SARCASTIC and SARDONIC are synonyms; and VEHEMENT AND INDIGNANT are strikingly similar.
Good luck to all the test takers out there!
Laura Fineberg Cooper