DIDLS Strategy for Analyzing Tone

DIDLS is a strategy for analyzing tone. It usually applies to a written or oral text. . It’s an acronym that stands for diction, imagery, details, language and structure.

To begin your analysis, it helps to have a basic understanding of what tone is.

Tone is the speaker’s attitude. It is the emotion that the author uses to communicate about the subject. The tone shows meaning that goes beyond the words in the story.

From there, you can move on to analyzing the different elements that make up tone

D- Consider the Diction

Diction is the word choice that an author uses.  It refers to the specific phrasing and vocabulary in a text. The word choice conveys a particular connotation in order to persuade audiences.

Questions to ask about Diction
  • What words does the author choose?
  • Why does the author choose these specific words?
  • What are the connotations associated with that choice?

I- Examine the Imagery

Imagery is the use of vivid descriptions and figures of speech. Imagery provides mental pictures of things mentioned in the text. The author uses imagery to appeal to the audiences’ senses.

Questions to ask about Imagery
  • What images does the author use?
  • What senses does the author appeal to?
  • What does the author’s use of images tell you about his/her writing style?

D- Identify the Details

Details are the facts that are included in the text. They make up the information that is included in or excluded from a text. Details help to shape perspective and purpose of the text.

Questions to ask about Details
  • What facts does the author include?
  • What facts does the author exclude?
  • Why does the author include or exclude these details?

L- Describe the Language

Language is the overall use of words. It is the characteristics of the text as a whole, not just pieces of diction used. Language includes consideration of an overall theme within the words of a text, such as use of jargon or formal language.

Questions to ask about Language
  • What is the overall impression of the language the author uses?
  • Does the language reflect a certain level of education or a particular profession?
  • What style does the language convey?

S- Evaluate the Structure

Structure refers to the format that the author uses. Structure refers to overall organizational format and syntax (sentence-level organizational format). The way that a text is structured can influence the audience’s attitudes .

Questions to ask about Structure
  • How is the format of the text organized?
  • How are the sentences written?
  • What impression does the structure give?

This is our third infographic in a series about strategies for analysis. See the other graphics in this series here:

The OPTIC Strategy for Visual Analysis
The SOAPSTone Strategy for Written Analysis

Alisa Scott

I’m Alisa Scott, a digital content developer intern for The Visual Communication Guy. I am a communication major with a minor in English. I enjoy visual communication, design, writing, social media, advertising and public relations. Although I'm still undecided on what I want to be when I grow up, I am currently aspiring to work in public relations.