what is the tone of the passage

Home » Blog » Tones of passages for CAT reading comprehension questions Tones of passages for CAT reading comprehension questions Tuesday, June 4, 2020 Reading: What is the tone of the passage?

Writing levels


Now, you must know about different types of RC paragraphs as well as different writing styles. Closer to the style of writing, to the tone of the passage. As you know, tone-based questions often accompany CAT RC passages. So, what does “tone of passage” really mean? The tone of the passage shows the author’s feelings and attitude towards the topic being discussed. In other words, it is the main emotion that the author expresses towards the subject. You may react differently to different people in the same or different situations. You can say the same sentence harshly or politely or sarcastically depending on the context and the person. Similarly, the RC tone changes in different contexts with the same or different subjects. Learning to identify tone will help you in many ways: answering questions directly based on tone as well as uncovering implicit information and inferences. The tone of the passage represents the message the author wants to convey to the reader. The same group of words will change their meaning if you say them in a different accent. subjective or objective. As you might guess, an objective tone is used when the author chooses to remain neutral and detached. On the other hand, subjective tone reveals the author’s attitude and feelings towards the issue. In general, CAT RCs have the following tones:

Acerbic / harsh / severe / bitter / caustic / test tube:

How would you express your dislike or disagreement towards something or someone in a harsh way? Here comes the role of acerbic tunes. The author reveals his disagreement with a particular theory or may express his disdain for a person in a harsh tone. Once you identify this tone, you will be able to answer the ‘author agree/disagree’ questions that follow the RC paragraph.


Similar to the one above, this tone of voice justifies the author’s anger towards the subject. How do you justify your anger towards any unfair system? You can do so with a number of arguments, facts, and examples related to the topic. Likewise, the author intends to justify his anger by stating various reasons related to this issue. Such RC passages revolve around biased systems or policies that authorities follow. Questions based on such passages are often direct and easy to answer.


As the name suggests, this type of tone is used to express regret or guilt about mishaps or tragedies that may have happened in the past. These tone-based RCs often talk about theories related to world wars, natural disasters, or other disasters that have negatively impacted humanity. Such passages may also include a great deal of facts and figures.

Belligerent / bellicose

What tone of voice do you think the two warring sides speak to each other? As you would guess, they are hostile towards each other. This is when the author uses an aggressive tone. Think of the affection that the Allied and Axis forces have for each other. RC passages based on this type of tone are easy to understand and allow you to easily predict answers to inference-based questions.

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While we love another thing/person/group, we tend to use a biased tone to express our predisposition towards it. Similarly, the author uses a biased tone and presents arguments in favor of a particular thing/theory in the passage. Once you determine the author’s stance, you should be able to find answers to the questions asked.


Read more: What does ps shoe mean This tone of voice is used to express grief or sympathize with a person or group of people who are suffering from prejudiced practices or standards cultural ink. The author intends to acquaint the reader with the trauma suffered by people.

Condemn / Patronize

A condescending tone implies an attitude that defends the superiority of a particular thing/person/group. As you’d expect, such RC passages may display a snobby or disdainful tone in regards to things considered inferior in the author’s opinion.

Contempt / ridicule / denigrate

This tone shows the author’s disdain or contempt for the subject. You will often find such passages treat the subject with disdain and ridiculousness.


How do you tend to talk about people you don’t trust? Here comes the role of skeptical tone. The passages are written with a sarcastic tone that reveals the author’s view of a society motivated entirely by self-interest.


You must have some firm beliefs and views about specific aspects of life. In what tone would you talk about them? This is where the dogmatic tone comes into play. When the author is assertive about his opinion, he uses a dogmatic tone to convey his point.


While narrating an incident/event/story, the author uses an emotional tone of voice to portray feelings about that event/event/story. Such RC passages can be complicated and need to be reread to arrive at the correct answer.


As you know, ethical issues in business have more relevance in developing corporate cultures. Such RC passages often appear in the CAT exam. The author uses a moral tone to describe issues of morality, justice, honesty, etc.


How do you express your dislike or disagreement without being insulting or blunt? In such a case, the lithe melody will help you. RC passages in this type of tone use indirect and implicit sentences.

Paternal grandfather

As the name suggests, this type of tone is used by passages written in a descriptive or abstract style. The passage seems more complicated than it should be. Also, sometimes abstract passages use a grandiose tone of voice.


As you would guess, a humanist accent is best suited to issues related to human welfare, values, and other issues. A good idea for such passages is to look through the questions before reading the passage. This way you will be able to grasp the essence of the given passage/theory.

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One of the most interesting voices in writing, a humorous one that is witty and amusing at the same time. All you need to do is discover the message the author wants to convey gently.


How would you talk about analyzing your emotions or reflecting on your actions? Well, introspection is used in the passage for self-examination and reflection on one’s actions and feelings.

Inciting / provocative

Read more: LCM of 24 and 36 | Top Q&A Maybe you’ve come across some of the famous speeches of great orators and found that their words moved or moved the hearts of their listeners. Well, that’s a stimulating tune. It is the tone of speech used by revolutionaries and politicians. In other words, an agitated tone is meant to incite people in a negative or positive direction.


How have you complimented something or someone you admire? That’s what praise sounds like. Usually, descriptive paragraphs use this type of tone to discuss a particular topic with certain justifications.


Another interesting type of voiceover, a motivational voiceover aims to inspire and motivate you using influential quotes and examples. Such passages can give examples of some common personalities and incidents in their lives.


When a passage seems uninteresting and uncomplicated to you, it may have a pedestrian tone. In other words, this type of tone is used when the RC passage is about common things and ideas.


As the name suggests, a populist tone is used to discuss theories and characteristics exhibited by the general populace. The author of the passage uses a populist tone to explain the characteristics and behavior of ordinary people.


As you’d expect, this type of tone is fanciful and exaggerated. Such passages seem interesting to read but contain unrealistic content. This tune is mainly used for abstract RC pieces.

satire / satire / satire / mockery

Try expressing your dislike indirectly and without sounding too serious? Most of us have spoken in one way or another. When the author states a negative opinion about something in a sarcastic or ironic way, he uses a sarcastic tone in the passage.


We read about various speculations in the press – economic, political, etc. Similarly, the RC paragraphs explaining any such theory use a speculative tone of voice. In other words, such passages revolve around hypothetical things and expert opinions.


As the name suggests, authors of passages tend to use technical jargon while using this accent. This type of tone is often used to discuss the core ideas of particular fields of study. Such passages are often accompanied by a plethora of facts and figures. So now how can you be sure about a particular tone used for the passage? You can find clues in the following ways:

  • Look at the adjectives and adverbs used in the passage and their meanings. The choice of words provides a strong hint of the author’s tone of voice.
  • Another clue given by writing style– whether it is narrative, descriptive, etc.
  • Also, give an overview of the structure and organization of ideas in the passage.
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Bottom line: read and practice as much as you can. This will help you identify your accent accurately and in less time.

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