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by Melissa Wilson

What is tone when it comes to writing?

It’s a simple question, but the answer can be rather complicated. In basic terms, tone usually refers to how a writer uses certain words in a specific way to convey non-verbal observations about specific subjects. Not only does tone help to deliver facts, but it delivers them with an attitude. With emotion. With a personal perspective.

Tone is sometimes used interchangeably with the voice of the author. They are very different. A writer’s voice is a perspective of their personality. The tone of a writer conveys their attitude about what is being writing about. If tone is combined with voice, then this will create a specific writing style that can be attributed to that writer.

There Are 9 Basic Types of Tone in Writing

Any emotion, any attitude, and any perspective can lay the foundation for a specific tone in writing. If you can come up with an adjective, then that can be a tone. This means if you look at tone with specificity, there is an infinite number that can be used.

That makes it a little difficult to begin developing your personal tone as a writing skill, so those infinite tones have been categorized into 9 different types. Let’s take a look at them in some detail.

1. Joyful: This tone in writing focuses on the positive emotions that are experienced in the moment of an action. If you eat something you like, then you feel joy. When you experience reciprocal love, you feel joy. Writers use this tone to create relationship-building experiences between their readers and their characters.

2. Serious: This tone in writing creates a level of suspense within the reader. It increases their focus because the concepts being offered are important.

3. Humorous: Being funny does more than make people laugh. It also makes them begin to think about difficult concepts in a way that feels safe. This tone in writing is often intended to draw the reader into a story or narrative so they can engage with certain facts or opinions the author feels are important to share.

4. Sad: Sadness is a very real part of the human condition. In many ways, our saddest days define who we are as people. When incorporated as a tone in writing, the reader become sympathetic with the characters or the author and this empathy will keep them engaged with the narrative.

5. Formal: This tone in writing is often seen from an academic standpoint. It requires structured language, higher reading skills, and presents more facts that can be proven than the opinions of the writer.

6. Informal: The goal of this content is to have an informal tone. It’s conversational, but still conveys a certain sense of expertise within the subject material.

7. Optimistic: There’s a lot of bad stuff going on in the world today. Yet there is also a belief that the world can and will be a better place one day if we’re willing to work for it. This would be an example of an optimistic tone.

8. Pessimistic: When there’s a lot of bad stuff going on in the world, it can feel like that bad stuff will only get worse. That kind of tone would be an example of being pessimistic. Pessimism is not realism. Being pessimistic means having a belief that something will never get better, even if the facts may seem to indicate otherwise.

9. Horror: This tone of voice is threatening in nature. It speaks to the core fears that people have and forces them to confront those fears.

Now there may be 9 basic types of tone in writing, but that doesn’t mean a writer is limited to using just one tone as they compose something. It is possible to use all of these tones in some way in specific instances. Having every character in a story be overly optimistic isn’t realistic. Even the most optimistic of people feel pessimistic from time to tome.

Yet there must also be an overall tone to the book that is reflective of the attitude a writer has to the overall story arc that is being offered. Mixing tones on the overall theme creates confusion because it changes the perspective.

This is why it is important to know the types of tone in writing and how they relate to the voice being used. With the right style, it becomes easier to communicate the key points a writer is trying to make to the reader.

27 Responses to “9 Types of Tone in Writing”

  1. Caden Dahl

    It is interesting to see the different kinds of writing tones in articles. I’ve always thought that there were just a small amount and not nine. However, you did mention that you aren’t stuck to using just the ones here as there are ways to combine them and potentially use all of them.

    Reply
  2. Supriya

    It is well-explained.
    Had it been bettered if you would include an example article for each tone. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Byron Conner

    Actually quite glad to state, your post is exceptionally interesting to read. I never stop myself to say anything regarding it. You’re working effectively. Keep it up!

    Reply
  4. Kourosh Naziri

    I loved the way you explain all the important information above mention. An expert writer is an amateur who didn’t stop. I trust myself that a decent writer doesn’t actually should be advised anything but to keep at it. Please take some time to check out my page on Tips in Writing a Book about Fitness
    This will also guide you to write a fitness book, and I hope this will help you as well.

    Regards
    Kourosh

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  5. Keith

    These are very helpful tips and advice. I could compose recorded fiction, or sci-fi, or a secret however since I think that it’s intriguing to investigate the pieces of information of some little know period and build up a story dependent on that, I will likely keep on doing it. Please take a look at my blog on Tips and Tricks for Writing Historical Fiction

    Cheers
    Keith

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  6. Raymond

    Loved the content of your blog with the tips. Poetry is feeling placed into the measure. The feeling should stop essentially, however the measure can be procured by art. Visit my blog The Importance of Poetry to Humanity
    This will guide you on your future writing project.

    Regards
    Raymond

    Reply
  7. Dawid Lisowski

    There is so much negative information on the Internet, radio, TV, newspapers. Can you one more tone to this article – a positive tone. I do not mean funny or funky, but a positive tone of writing. Just add something positive, I add a positive comment.

    Reply
  8. Farhan Ali

    Actually quite glad to state, your post is exceptionally interesting to read. I never stop myself to say anything regarding it.

    Reply
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