From LitLearn's IB English Questionbank...

Question #1: The Difference between Tone vs. Atmosphere

Tone and atmosphere are vague concepts to most IB English students, but there's a simple, intuitive way to clearly draw the line between them.

After these 3 dot points, you will know exactly when to use tone or atmosphere in your analysis. No more confusion!

  • We correctly use "atmosphere" to describe the 'vibe' or 'energy' of an environment. Imagine going to a cemetery on a dark night, all alone. That's creepiness and the silence... that's atmosphere.
  • We correctly use "tone" to describe how someone (a person) sounds. When the writer, or the narrator, sounds angry, sad, or happy... that's tone. If you've ever been angry at your parents, and they yell at you: "Watch your tone!"... then you have first-hand experience of what tone means 😂 

Remember these 2 things:

  • Tone = attitude of a person
  • Atmosphere = vibe of an environment

It's THAT simple.

Now, let's try to answer this question!

Answer (highlight below to see) 👇:

The paragraph is more atmospheric! Here's why...

  • "atmosphere" is more important here, because atmosphere refers to the 'vibe' or 'energy' of an environment. The quote from 1984 is mostly describing the energy or 'vibe' of the physical environment.
  • however, the attitude of the writer or the character is not very prominent here, so the paragraph is not tonal.

Challenge Question

Analyse the atmosphere from the quote

Write no more than 100 words.

Let's see what a real LitLearn student submitted for this Challenge Question... And the real feedback that she received within 24 hours!

Student Answer

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