Author’s Voice

Kristin Fracchia
Lesson by Kristin Fracchia
Magoosh Expert
Learn More About Magoosh ACT
This reading lesson is about Author's Voice Questions. So these are the questions on the test. They're going to ask you, what's the tone of the passage? How does an author feel about something? What would they think about something, potentially? So let's take a look at some examples.

Which of the following statements would the author most likely make about? Now this is one of those ones that has to do with an author's opinion on a topic and then we have to apply that to some hypothetical statement. So this is one of those questions that could potentially be a bit tougher in this category. More often, you're going to see questions like this.

How does the author or the narrator, if we're dealing with a fiction passage feel about something? Or the tone of the passage could best be characterized as. So once again, Author's Voice Questions. We're looking for how the author feels about something or the narrator feels about it.

What do they think about the topic? So our strategy for dealing with these questions is first, to determine the main idea. You'll hear me talk about this again and again on lots of different question types in these lots of videos and that's because the test again and again and the questions, just comes back to the main idea.

If you don't understand the main idea, then you are going to be struggling, with some of the questions. And definitely, more tempted by some wrong answer choices. So we always want to stick very closely to the main idea. We need to know what the main idea is and then we need to apply it. We need to determine how the author feels about it or what's their opinion towards that main idea.

What's the tone they take towards it? So the way that we can do this is to look for purposeful word choices as you read and as you are actively reading, you want to underline those. Now, what do I mean by purposeful word choices? Well, these are the words that were used for a reason when the author was writing this.

So let's say, for example, that the author is critical of the topic. Well, then maybe you're going to see words, such as the effects of the proposal were disastrous. Disastrous may be a word I would underline or there is nothing to justify the reasons for this proposal. So nothing to justify, I would underline.

So those are phrases and words that help us to determine that this author is being critical of it and because you're often going to see tone or attitude or voice questions, you want to make sure you're always looking out for them as you read the passage. And, when you're looking at the answer choices for these Author's Voice Questions, you want to be very careful of extreme answer choices.

They'll often be some words, some answer choices that are really extreme, maybe mocking. That's pretty extreme. And if a passage was mocking a topic, you'd probably know it. It's gonna have some very strong words choices. A safer, more blander version of that would be critical.

The author is critical of the topic. It's very unlikely that you're going to have an extreme answer choice be correct, because that's just not the nature of the passages on this tend. They tend to be a little bit more bland, a little bit more wishy-washy. So when in doubt, pick one of those answers. And if you pick an extreme or really strong answer choice, make sure you have the justification and the passage to back it up.

So let's go ahead and take a look at a test example. So here's a tone question. The tone of the passage could best be characterized as admiring, objective, satirical or questioning. Now we are referring the example passage that you see below the video, it's also in the example passage video lesson.

So check that out first and let's go ahead and back to the passage. I'm just gonna go to the beginning and to the end to illustrate this process of looking for tone. So the first paragraph we have some illustration of what the opening scene looks like. It tells us how Marie Antoinette looks, as she's being dressed.

I don't see anything that specifically tells us what the author's opinion of this is, then we move on to basically, get into the theme of this piece. This theme of dressing and redressing, which is accentuated i the opening scene is pursued throughout the film Marie Antoinette, establishing costume as a significant feature for reading the movie. Costumes help in the construction of cinematic identities, blah, blah, blah, more about that.

Let's go ahead and go to the end. More on the color palette here. The costumes are thus understood as being designed in order to communicate the inner experiences of the characters. Costume design allows us to quickly grasp what the characters are all about and work with the other features to generate a symbolic network for telling a story through dress.

Now, I'm honestly not getting any really, strong impression of how the author feels about this. It seems like she's just relaying information. So if we go back to the question, admiring, no evidence for that. I mean, it may seem like she likes the film a little bit. You could probably justify it, since she's not saying anything back about it, but be careful of picking something that doesn't have justification.

We're looking for the bland answer choice here. Objective. She does seem pretty objective. Satirical. Satirical, she's not using irony here. She's not making fun of anything, so we can eliminate that.

That would be a very strong answer choice and questioning. Well, she's not questioning motives in the film. She's just relaying information. So objective is our best answer. Okay. So let's go ahead and recap, these Author's Voice Questions.

First of all, we want to determine the main idea and then add the layer of determining the tone or the opinion of the author or narrator and make sure you're looking for purposeful word choices as you read and underline them. And finally, be very careful of extreme answer choices. Don't pick one of those, unless you can absolutely back it up with text.

Show Transcript

This is the last lesson of the section

Table of contents


Question Type Strategies