RC: Tone of the author

Identifying the tone of the author is one of the most important question types.  To find the tone of the author, a student has to observe specific adjectives which give us some clues about the tone.  Also the style, context, topic, trend of the paragraph also very important to identify the tone.  The following examples gives you some taste of this typical question type frequently found in various reading comprehension questions. 

1) When I say that priesthood is an evil in religion, I do not mean that priests are evil. There is a mistaken notion even among those who should know better that an institution that is evil is evil because the persons involved in it are evil. Mediation between God and man itself cannot be safely entrusted to humans. This is my contention and it has time and again been proved in the course of history, not only to the detriment of the common people, but also to that of the priests, who, having no option open, may misuse their sacred office.
The tone in the passage is:
a) Judgmental
b) Regret
c) Defensive
d) Critical
e) Sarcastic
The correct answer is c) Defensive. The passage definitely expresses an opinion, but it seeks to defend an earlier opinion expressed previously. So, it cannot be judgmental. There is no regret that priest hood was established or regret of anything else. Only an opinion is expressed defending a previous one. The purpose of the passage is to defend, not to criticize. There is no personal attack, so it cannot be sarcastic.

2) It is often said that God made man in his image; it is also true that man makes God in his own image. Both may be right; and you are perfectly right in thinking of your God as a super tiger. Also it may be true. What we must not forget is that He reveals himself in a mighty terrifying form which pervades the whole universe in every form of life and action. Remember also He is within every one of us and we derive our strength from Him.
a) Didactic
b) Condescending
c) Argumentative
d) Humorous
e) Glorifying
The correct answer is a) Didactic. It is in the tone of a teacher teaching someone. Only one sentence (the second one) is in a condescending tone, no other. The arguments are not set out separately for analysis. Only an opinion is expressed authoritatively. It is not humorous. There is none of the grandeur of glorification; there is only a matter-of-fact description of God.

3) Some medical beast had revived tar-water in those days as a fine medicine, and Mrs. Joe always kept a supply of it in the cupboard; having a belief in its virtues correspondent to its nastiness. At the best of times, so much of this elixir was administered to me as a choice restorative that I was conscious of going about, smelling like a new fence.
a) Commiserating
b) Ironical
c) Sarcastic
d) Humorous
e) Derogatory
The correct answer is c) Sarcastic. The author minces no words in describing his strong feelings. The author is not consoling himself or anyone else. The tone is more plaintive, but the option is not there. He is describing to us the unpleasantness of the medicine in very clear terms. So it cannot be commiserating. There is no irony because there is no sentence in which the opposite of what is said is intended. It does not make us smile or laugh, so it is not humorous. The author does not attempt to insult anyone except in the first three words. Therefore, it is not derogatory.

4) I think the time has come to clear up what I think is a deep-rooted misunderstanding about cows on the streets of Kakinada. That the cow is a holy animal cannot be denied. But being an animal, and a domestic one at that, it must be given its due shelter. But where? Not in our houses, certainly. The streets are therefore ideal places. Motorists and other aggrieved parties can surely make adjustments in their driving in consideration to the Gokula. The accidents must be endured: the world belongs to the cows too. It is the least we can do for the long-suffering cows of Kakinada. If anyone wants a free supply of cow-dung, he has only to step onto the streets. Such a liberal supply of that precious material is to be found in our great city because our bovine denizens are considerate enough not only to grace our streets but also to bestow their benedictions.
A) Sarcastic
B) Ironical
C) Laudatory
D) Critical
E) Plaintive
Explanation: The correct answer is B) Ironical. Here the passage expresses a strong opinion on cows but the opposite of what is expressed is intended. The writer is indignant about cows being allowed to roam on the streets of Kakinada, but he seems to laud cows as sacred animals in order to expose the indifference to cows on the streets. He is critical of this but in an ironical way. There is also a plaintive tone beneath the irony. But overall, the predominant tone is one of irony. Therefore, B) is best.

5) It is an established principle of criminal jurisprudence that in the absence of specific countervailing factors, there is a general presumption in favour of bail. This rule is a natural extension of the very foundation of the modern legal system, which proceeds on the assumption that all persons are innocent until proven guilty. The enormous public anger against the scale of corruption and fraud, and the brazenness of the conspiracy, involved in the 2G spectrum scandal is understandable and must be commended. But the ‘grave magnitude' of the case should not be allowed to detract from the basic legal principles underlying the grant of bail. But this is what seems to have happened in the CBI special court's denial of bail to DMK MP Ms Kanimozhi and seven others in the 2G case. Given that charges have been framed and the case will go to trial in a few days, why should they remain in jail? The contention that they could tamper with evidence is unpersuasive — the gap between the time the 2G licences were issued and the probe was initiated would have given all accused enough time to destroy or conceal whatever they wanted to. The court maintained that the accused, being influential, could influence the witnesses and prejudice the trial. But the obvious answer would be to place certain restrictions on their movement and activity. The unstated implication of bail denial is that the accused should be in jail until the trial is over — a position that is extreme. The court also ignored the fact that some of the usual grounds for refusing bail — such as the possibility of the accused fleeing from justice or repeating a similar offence — do not apply here.  

The author's tone towards bail in this paragraph is 
a) Analytical
b) Critical
c) Sarcastic
d)  Impetuous
e) Optimistic
Please read the question carefully.  You might think that the tone of the author here is critical, but the question asked you to find the tone of the author towards “bail”. The author is critical of the decision of the CBI special court to refuse bail to the accused in the scam. There is no personal attack, or strong emotion shown; there is no optimism in favour of his opinion. The author argues his case logically by invoking the tenets of the law. Therefore, his tone is analytical towards bail. 

6) In a country of nearly 1.2 billion people where over 60 per cent are below any commonsensical definition of the poverty line, it is quite natural that motorsport, especially Formula One, is associated with the rich, new Indian elite. This is perhaps why the debate whether motor racing is a sport or a meaningless exercise involving profligate spending still rages on in the country. Recently P.T. Usha, one of the greatest athletes the country has produced, trashed Formula One as a criminal waste of money. There are not many who think differently. However, understanding the nuances of F1 would enable people to appreciate the sport better. And the truth is F1 is a sport and a business. The top Indian business houses vying for advertising space during the inaugural Grand Prix of India held at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in Greater Noida showed that F1, which has a total global television audience of 527 million, is indeed a fantastic medium for promoting brands in overseas markets. The sport could also act as a powerful vehicle for the steadily growing Indian automotive sector to position its brands globally. After all, the engine maps and components used in the F1 car are not very dissimilar to the ones in a road car today.
a) Analytical
b) Critical
c) Sarcastic
d)  Impetuous
e) Supportive
The tone is analytical because the author is supporting the cause of F-1 racing in India by analyzing the benefits that would accrue to Indians if F-1 racing is introduced in India. There is no personal attack, or any strong emotion to indicate the other options. Therefore, A) Analytical is best.

(Written by A.P.Raju, Email: a.p.raju9946@gmail.com)