Some student's attitude towards Maths. Image by WiseGeek.

Some student’s attitude towards Maths. Image by WiseGeek.

Register Attitude

Attitude refers to the way one thinks or feels about something. In register it usually used to refer to a position one has taken in the matter at hand. Attitude can be a settled way of thinking or feeling, usually conceived out of one’s past experiences and pre-conceived notions about something.

For example we can talk of one’s attitude towards the Maths subject, your attitude towards white/black people, your attitude towards women wearing mini skirts, your attitude towards elections, your attitude towards people of the opposite sex or your attitude towards the poor. As has already been alluded to, although people’s attitudes might be revealed in given scenarios as might be shown by their utterances in a given register scenario, they often betray pre-held underlying beliefs. Attitude may also refer to how well people are willing to change these beliefs and adopt new ones.

Examples of common attitudes include: bias, menacing, prejudice, understanding, welcoming, open minded, tolerant, intolerant, sensitive (not to be confused with its equivalent that is used to describe character), caring, positive, negative, pessimistic, optimistic,realistic and cynical.

A person’s attitude in register question is usually revealed by their utterance or the way they respond. You should go to the English Notes Home and take a¬†look of at a more comprehensive list of words that can be used to describe attitude. Take time to learn the precise meaning of each word so as to be able to use it correctly and more accurately.

The word “attitude” is often used in the vague sense to signify someone who has a truculent and uncooperative attitude especially in statements like “Your son has an attitude.” In which sense it is usually meant to mean that the person being described is obstinate in some sense. It is important to note that this is not the meaning of the word attitude in ZIMSEC English examinations where it is employed to mean one’s settled way of thinking or feeling vis-a-vis the matter at hand.


1. You go to the Passport Office to make enquiries about how to go about replacing your lost passport. The clerk on duty says:

i) “I am not here to serve careless people so do not offering to pay.”

ii) “Certainly, I can replace it but I am afraid you will have to pay a replacement fee.”

What does each response reveal about the clerk’s attitude towards your problem. Number your answers separately i) and ii).


i) He/She is unhelpful. or She/He is insensitive/unsympathetic to my plight.

ii) She/He is sympathetic/helpful/sensitive.

2. You do well in your end of year examinations. Two different teachers write the following comments on your report card:

i) ” A surprising performance. I feel.”

ii) “Well done! Keep it up.”

What is each teacher’s attitude towards your efforts in each case. Number your answers separately i) and ii).


i) He/She is unconvinced by your performance. or She/He doubts the performance and thinks it was a fluke and cannot be replicated.

ii) She/He believes in your ability. She/He is pleased/delighted by your performance.