Skip to content

More About Diction

DICTION is the author’s choice of words and their connotations

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. What words appear to have been chosen specifically for their effects?
  2. What effect do these words have on your mood as the reader?
  3. What do they seem to indicate about the author’s tone?

Describe diction (choice of words) by considering the following:

  1. Words can be monosyllabic (one syllable in length) or polysyllabic (more than one syllable in length).  The higher the ratio of polysyllabic words, the more difficult the content.
  2. Words can be mainly colloquial (slang), informal (conversational), formal (literary) or old-fashioned.
  3. Words can be mainly denotative (containing an exact meaning, e.g., dress) or connotative (containing suggested meaning, e.g., gown)
  4. Words can be concrete (specific) or abstract (general or conceptual).
  5. Words can euphonious (pleasant sounding, e.g., languid, murmur) or cacophonous (harsh sound, e.g., raucous, croak).

Vocabulary for DICTION:

Colloquial (Slang)


Informal (Conversational)

Formal (Literary)

Connotative (Suggestive meaning)

Denotative (Exact meaning)

Concrete (Specific)

Abstract (General or Conceptual)

Euphonious (Pleasant Sounding)

Cacophonous (Harsh sounding)

Monosyllabic (One syllable)

Polysyllabic (More than one syllable)

You can download this page as a handout by clicking here

%d bloggers like this: