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Print out this chart.

Place an X on each line nearest the appropriate abbreviation to show the author's use of that element of style.


1. Dialogue/no dialogue                            D___________________________ ND


2. Emotional/not emotional                       E ___________________________ NE


3. Humorous/serious                                 H___________________________ S


4. Slang/no slang                                       S __________________________ NS


5. Easy vocabulary/difficult                       EV __________________________ DV


6. Figurative language/                              FL __________________________ LL

   literal language

7. Easy sentence structure/                       ESS ________________________ DSS

   difficult sentence structure

8. Descriptive/not descriptive                   D ___________________________ ND


9. Realism/fantasy                                    R___________________________ F


Use this chart to discuss the style of your author.


DIDLS is an acronym that may prove useful to students to remind themselves
of critical elements that contribute to the analysis of style.

Diction: word choice, denotation, connotation
Imagery: vivid appeals to understanding through the senses
Details: facts which are included - or omitted; specific information; descriptions; action
Language: overall use of language
Sentence structure: length, punctuation, pattern

The above is meant to give the students direction when analyzing tone.


For students who need more structure, questions are substituted. For example:

What is the diction of the selection?
What imagery does the author use?
To what senses do these appeal?
What figures of speech are used?
Sound devices?
What type of language (formal, colloquial, idiomatic, informal, slang, etc.) does the selection employ? What effect does it have?
What type of syntax is used? Short or long sentences? Variety of sentence structure? Specialized sentence variety, such as inverted word order, parallel structure, balance, etc.?
What significant words or phrases seem to stand out?
How do these words relate to theme?

Writing Helps