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    Reading Comprehension
  I: Introduction  
  II: The Challenge  
  III: The Five Steps  
  IV: Question Types  
       Macro Questions  
           1. Main Idea  
           2. Purpose of the Passage  
           3. Tone  
           4. Passage Organization  
           5. Category of Writing  
           6. Identity of the Author  
       Micro Questions  
           7. Detail of the Passage  
           8. Definition of a Term  
           9. Support for a Premise  
           10. Function of Passage Part  
           11. Inference  
  V: Tips  
  VI: Sample Essays  
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IV-3: Question Types: Macro Questions- Tone
 
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How to identify Tone questions: Tone is feeling, not thinking. Look for emotion and attitude.

What is the author’s attitude toward . . . ?

Which of the following best describes the author’s feelings toward . . . ?


How to tackle them: Look for adjectives in the passage that describe attitudes, or types of emotional response. Also, remember the tone must be consistent with the main idea. Look for buzzwords, such as “jubilant,” “depressed,” “extraordinary,” etc. The GMAT is too academic to have very intense emotions appear in passages; hence, adjectives that are extreme in their emotion usually can be eliminated. Try this:

Which of the following best describes the author’s feelings towards gentrification?

A) Outrage
B) Suspicion
C) Indifference
D) Acceptance
E) Exhilaration

The author probably is not outraged or exhilarated about the subject. Both of these adjectives are extreme and would warrant much stronger language than what commonly appears in GMAT passages. On the other hand, "indifference" is probably not accurate either, as it implies too little emotion: if the author doesn't care at all about the topic, why would he write a passage about it? "Acceptance" and "suspicion" are much more moderate feelings, so it's likely that either (D) or (B) is the right answer. Similar to main idea questions, tone questions look for answers that fit somewhere in the middle: neither too hot nor too cold.

 

2. Purpose of the Passage

4. Passage Organization