her tone feels off

Discussion in 'English Only' started by carolmoraiss, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. carolmoraiss

    carolmoraiss Senior Member

    Brazil
    Portuguese
    What does off mean when it comes to somebody's tone of voice?
    does it mean "distant" or simply "incorrect"? Or lacking in confidence?

    Thanks a bunch!
     
  2. Embonpoint Senior Member

    Boston
    English--American
    It can mean a lot of things. I interpret it mainly as "different than normal." Very commonly it means that a person is not herself in someway or that something is wrong.

    Can you give us some context please? It would really help.
     
  3. carolmoraiss

    carolmoraiss Senior Member

    Brazil
    Portuguese
    Oh, i guess this is already a good explanation!!
    I was having a conversation yesterday and my friend said he was practicing for a presentation and, when his tone felt off, he'd redo the explanation. So I think what you said seems pretty accurate to me!

    thank you!
     
  4. Embonpoint Senior Member

    Boston
    English--American
    That's a good example. If I'm working on a presentation and my tone feels "off" that means it's not what I want it to be. It could mean a lot of specific things, such as I'm too tense, or not enthusiastic enough. When you say something is "off" you often can't quite put your finger on exactly what's wrong. It just doesn't seem right.

    Another example of "off" without using tone would be just to say that a person "seemed a little off" when you saw her. That means something seemed wrong and you can't explain it. If what struck you primarily is that she was tense or distracted, you would say that. But if you got the sense that something was wrong, but you can't quite give the details, you would say she seemed "off."

    Similarly, if you're not feeling quite well physically, you might say you felt "off." I felt a little off Tuesday night, and then--bam--Wednesday I came down with a full-blown case of the flu.
     
  5. Elwintee Senior Member

    London England
    England English
    This need to 'redo the explanation' suggests to me that the 'tone' mentioned is not the tone (or quality) of voice, but the way the words are used in the presentation - the 'register'. This could mean, for instance, that the speaker felt he was talking down to his audience, or being too jokey and should adjust accordingly.
     
  6. Embonpoint Senior Member

    Boston
    English--American
    Good point. The tone of a presentation isn't the tone of voice. It is your overall attitude and presentation. For example, in criticizing a friend's presentation you might say: I think you need to strike a more optimistic tone!
     
  7. carolmoraiss

    carolmoraiss Senior Member

    Brazil
    Portuguese
    great, that's even better! I've learned a lot, thank you so much!
     

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