The New SAT: Words to Capture Tone – List #1 – 25 Words


hopeful that the best will happen in the future

Physicists are optimistic the mystery will be sorted out soon with more data.Scientific American (Sep 9, 2015)

expecting the worst possible outcome

“But lawyers are trained to always look for the worst-case scenario. They benefit more from being pessimistic, and that takes a toll.”New York Times (May 12, 2015)

having no personal preference

If I have strong views, I’m probably not going to be a good editor: it’s hard for me to write in a neutral way.”The Guardian (Sep 6, 2015)

mixed feelings or emotions

Their different responses to the unfolding economic drama underscore the strong ambivalence Americans feel about the Greek crisis.Washington Post (Jul 16, 2015)

characterized by directness in manner or speech

She suggests that its appeal lies in its frank treatment of topics usually left undiscussed.New York Times (Jun 19, 2015)

angered at something unjust or wrong

I seethed with envy, indignant that they enjoyed the honest freedom I had denied myself.The Guardian (May 17, 2014)

showing ready comprehension of others’ states

“I can feel your pain without going through it myself,” says the empathetic person.The Guardian (Jun 17, 2015)

understanding of the nature or meaning of something

It takes only one class of art history to learn the basic tools of art interpretation and appreciation.Slate (Sep 1, 2015)

of a serious examination and judgment of something

Yet someone who’s tired or distracted will likely be less critical, and will simply accept what you say as true.Time (Sep 2, 2015)

expressing extreme contempt

A deep, scornful hatred, like black syrup pumping thick through my heart.Salon (May 24, 2012)

lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike

But that didn’t stop the haters, who seized the new forum to rally their disdain.Los Angeles Times (Sep 2, 2015)

serving or tending to excite or stimulate

She’s not afraid to push buttons and be the provocative journalist she should be.”The Guardian (Aug 8, 2015)

characterized by enmity or ill will

There are four months left for the neighbors to patch things up, but for now the mood is hostile.Reuters (Sep 3, 2015)

a person who pleads for a person, cause, or idea

New resources, of course, have long been on the wish list of public education advocates.US News (Sep 8, 2015)

a feeling of delight at being entertained

The most exciting aspect of this field is that we don’t know which robotic sport will ultimately drive the most attention and amusement.Time (Jul 28, 2015)

expressing compassion or friendly fellow feelings

Government officials and others have called for compassion and tolerance, and the overwhelming reaction to the migrants has been sympathetic.New York Times (Aug 13, 2015)

a positive feeling of liking

Far from disrespect, there is great affection for Petersen in the Boise State football complex and throughout the campus.New York Times (Sep 4, 2015)

feeling or showing profound respect or veneration

And while typically you speak in a reverent voice in respect for the dead, tonight, feel free to speak up and ask questions.Washington Times (Sep 6, 2015)

expressing contempt or ridicule

Others found ways of mocking it, calling it – not so politely – a waste of time.Washington Times (Mar 30, 2015)

the act of giving up, as a claim or office or possession

They are so overwhelmed by juggling demands that many have moved from frustration and anxiety to resignation and despair, which is worse.New York Times (Jul 31, 2015)

not disposed or willing to believe; unbelieving

In the case of Guzmán, many Mexicans are particularly incredulous as this was his second escape from a supposedly high-security prison.The Guardian (Aug 7, 2015)

harsh or corrosive in tone

Saint-Saëns was on speaking terms with practically all of them, even if his prickly temperament and caustic wit tended to discourage close friendships.New York Times (Jul 20, 2012)

resembling or characteristic of a lament for the dead

It’s an elegiac message of farewell—whether to a romantic partner who is leaving or do life itself is subject to the listener’s interpretation.Los Angeles Times (Jun 29, 2015)

marked by extreme intensity of emotions or convictions

Folks tend to be either hardcore cloud “fans” or vehement cloud “detractors”, and often there is not much middle ground between them.Forbes (Jul 17, 2015)

consisting of or derived from a practice of long standing

Classicists insist the only syrup to use is Fox’s U-bet, chocolate being the most traditional flavor, though vanilla and strawberry are certainly not unheard of.Wall Street Journal (Sep 3, 2015)

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