English

Can someone tell me what is the diction and the syntax of this is?

"I stood up nervously, wondering what it could be. I felt my classmates' piercing eyes as I mechanically left the classroom. Teacher Hou walked ahead of me without seeming to notice my presence. I followed silently."

I don't really understand what diction and syntax means. Help is greatly needed. Thanks in advance. :)

Diction is referring to the words the author has chosen:
"DICTION: The choice of a particular word as opposed to others. A writer could call a rock formation by many words--a stone, a boulder, an outcropping, a pile of rocks, a cairn, a mound, or even an "anomalous geological feature." The analytical reader then faces tough questions. Why that particular choice of words? What is the effect of that diction? The word choice a writer makes determines the reader's reaction to the object of description, and contributes to the author's style and tone. Compare with concrete diction and abstract diction, above. It is also possible to separate diction into high or formal diction, which involves elaborate, technical, or polysyllabic vocabulary and careful attention to the proprieties of grammar, and low or informal diction, which involves conversational or familiar language, contractions, slang, elision, and grammatical errors designed to convey a relaxed tone."
http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_D.html

Syntax is referring to grammar and structure in the writing:
"SYNTAX: Word order and sentence structure, as opposed to diction, the actual choice of words. Standard English syntax prefers a Subject-Verb-Object pattern, but poets may tweak syntax to achieve rhetorical or poetic effects. Intentionally disrupting word order for a poetic effect is called anastrophe. Syntax is often distinguished from morphology and grammar. Note that syntax is what allows us to produce sequential grammatical units such as phrases, clauses, and sentences."
http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_S.html

So ... are the words chosen to convey formality? Informality? Anger? Contriteness? What? And what about sentence structure?

Let us know what you think, and someone here will give you feedback.

=)


Okayy. Well, I have to find out how Diction and syntax effect the tone in that paragraph. So, diction is mainly the words that create the tone which would be, "piercing, mechanically, nervously, silently." and the sytanx is like how to sentence structure help create the tone.......... how does the sentence structure help create the tone D=

Okayy. Well, I have to find out how Diction and syntax effect the tone in that paragraph. So, diction is mainly the words that create the tone which would be, "piercing, mechanically, nervously, silently." and the sytanx is like how to sentence structure help create the tone.......... how does the sentence structure help create the tone D=

If the passage were written in fragments and/or jerky, short sentences, the author would be creating an atmosphere (tone) of frustration or maybe ridicule or something rather negative. But instead all the sentences are complete and have standard word order (subject-verb-object), and there are no grammar or usage errors. The sentences are varied: complex sentence; complex sentence; simple sentence with participial phrase; simple sentence.

It's very controlled and there's no slang used. It's not indicating any anger or defiance or anything negative.

How will you characterize this passage then? Keep in mind that tone primarily involves emotions.
"TONE: The means of creating a relationship or conveying an attitude or mood. By looking carefully at the choices an author makes (in characters, incidents, setting; in the work's stylistic choices and diction, etc.), careful readers often can isolate the tone of a work and sometimes infer from it the underlying attitudes that control and color the story or poem as a whole. The tone might be formal or informal, playful, ironic, optimistic, pessimistic, or sensual. To illustrate the difference, two different novelists might write stories about capitalism. Author #1 creates a tale in which an impoverished but hard-working young lad pulls himself out of the slums when he applies himself to his education, and he becomes a wealthy, contented middle-class citizen who leaves his past behind him, never looking back at that awful human cesspool from which he rose. Author #2 creates a tale in which a dirty street-rat skulks his way out of the slums by abandoning his family and going off to college, and he greedily hoards his money in a gated community and ignores the suffering of his former "equals," whom he leaves behind in his selfish desire to get ahead. Note that both author #1 and author #2 basically present the same plotline. While the first author's writing creates a tale of optimism and hope, the second author shapes the same tale into a story of bitterness and cynicism. The difference is in their respective tones--the way they convey their attitudes about particular characters and subject-matter. Note that in poetry, tone is often called voice."
http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_T.html

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