Types Of Tones Writers Can Use With Examples!

Setting the right tone in your writing can help you accurately convey your message and connect with your audience. A writer’s tone influences how readers perceive the content, shaping their emotional response and overall engagement. That said, let’s dive into the different types of tones and how to find the best tone for your writing project!

What is tone?

Tone refers to an author’s attitude or emotional expression towards the subject matter and the audience. It is more subtle, creating a specific atmosphere and influencing the reader’s perception.

As a writer, it’s one of the main writing concepts you should be aware of, in addition to things like the elements of plot and voice.

The difference between tone and voice

Another way to think about tone is that it’s how the author feels about the subject. It is not the same as voice, which is when the author’s personality comes through in their writing. 

Just like you can change your attitude towards things in real life, you can change your tone when writing. 

Types of tones in writing

There are many different types of tones in writing.

In fact, you can write the same story differently if you change the tone! So here are some of the most common types of tones that the seasoned and first time author alike can apply to their writing

Motivating tone

You can use a motivating tone to convince readers to act on something. Motivating tones can also encourage the reader to overcome an issue or obstacle.

It can be inspirational and is often used in speeches, coaching, or during rallies. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is a good example.

Other examples of this type of tone are:

  • Push through the challenges, and you’ll become even stronger! 
  • Unlock your full potential.
  • Don’t give up! 

Formal tone

A formal writing tone is one that uses a professional style and is often used in academic or work settings.

Additionally, it focuses on being direct yet respectful. Full words are used rather than contractions, focusing on facts and grammar. Some examples of formal tone are:

  • According to the data presented in the report…
  • You are invited to attend the upcoming board meeting on…
  • The organization did not respond to the request… 

Informal tone

Informal is the opposite of formal. It’s the type of conversation you might use in everyday settings.

In other words, it’s conversational.

Also, with informal writing, you can use contractions and slang and convey more emotion in your writing. Sentence structure can be shorter and doesn’t have to follow stricter grammar rules. 

For example:

  • I ain’t got time to deal with you today…
  • Hit me up later if you want to join.
  • I gotta work extra hours to make up for the time off.

Serious tone

Serious is another one of the types of tones in writing. With a serious tone, you might create a reader persona for people who want to read somber, formal, or professional writing.

Serious writing can be used to convey direct facts and information without any strong feelings. It is often used when writing about heavy topics or the news. 

As an example:

  • Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are closing early today. 
  • The implications of this discovery are far-reaching and demand immediate attention.
  • The gravity of the situation became apparent as the events unfolded.

Optimistic tone

Optimistic is another one of the types of tones in writing. It is upbeat, conveying a sense of hope and a positive outlook on life.

With optimistic writing, you can still acknowledge the issues and struggles but have an uplifting message to lift up readers’ spirits, which can be one of the best tools for writers

Some examples of an optimistic tone are:

  • He reassured her that all would be well…
  • We are still hopeful…
  • Don’t worry, and everything will work out.

Pessimistic tone

The opposite of optimistic is, you guessed it, pessimistic. A pessimistic tone is negative or cautious about everything.

For instance, it’s used to express skepticism, warn against potential pitfalls, or address serious issues. 

For example:

  • Nothing good could come of walking down the dark alley…
  • The current political climate raises concerns about the future of…
  • If you eat that, you’ll be sick…

Assertive tone

With an assertive type of tone, you show confidence and authority.

Assertiveness can also be insistent and straightforward and can be used to persuade your audience about something. It is often used in debates and editorials. 

For instance:

  • It is undeniable that climate change poses a severe threat to our planet.
  • She walked in with the air of someone who knew what they were talking about.
  • He was resolute in his approach…

Passionate tone

Passionate tone expresses deep emotion and fervor about a subject. When an author really loves the work or topic they are writing about, it can come through in their writing.

You might use a passionate tone to convey emotion, and it’s also used to encourage readers to feel deeply about a topic. 

For example:

  • My heart swells with love whenever I think of you, my dearest.
  • The landscape filled my soul with profound joy.
  • This movie will change how you think about cinema! 

Curious tone

A curious tone reflects an inquisitive and exploratory attitude. It indicates that details are waiting to be uncovered and can also be used to keep readers on their toes about what’s to come. 

For instance: 

  • The detective couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more to the story.
  • Jessica still had a lot of questions she wanted to ask Jake about that night.
  • She always wondered if everything was actually as it seemed to be.

Surprised tone

A surprised tone conveys unexpectedness and astonishment. With this tone, something unexpected happens.

It is used to grab the reader’s attention and create a sense of intrigue or shock.

For example:

  • She was stunned when she learned he was still alive. 
  • The sudden appearance of a mysterious figure caught everyone off guard.
  • Joy did not expect to hear a familiar voice coming from the living room.

Expert tip: Practice writing in different tones

To properly understand the types of tones you need to practice and write a lot.

For example, you can try different writing exercises or a writing routine. By writing in different types of tones, you can understand what each tone sounds like.

Once you have a good grasp of tone, you’ll be able to convey nearly any type of emotion to your reader. 

How to find the best tone for your writing

Selecting the appropriate tone for your writing can help you convey your message accurately.

Here are some expert tips to help you find the right type of tone for your work:

Use specific words

The best way to convey tone is to use words that are associated with that type of tone. So, tailor your language to convey the precise emotions and nuances you want to use.

Choose words and adjectives that align with the desired tone, whether formal, informal, optimistic, or serious.

Consider your attitude

When deciding on the best tone for your writing, think about attitude. That can mean the attitude that your main character has or the attitude that you have about the subject at hand.

For example, if your reader is very angry about something that happened to them, they might have a very angry tone of voice. Or, if you’re trying to come off as an authority figure, you might take an assertive tone to convey your expertise.

Think about the reader

Consider your target audience and their expectations. Try creating a reader persona to help with this.

For instance, make sure to understand their preferences, cultural background, and their familiarity with the subject matter to create a connection. Would they expect the writing to be more serious or informal? 

Understanding where they are coming from can help you choose the right words to get your message across. 

Play with details

Use vivid details and descriptive language to enhance the emotional impact of your writing. Create a sensory experience that resonates with the reader and reinforces the chosen tone.

You can also write the same topic using various types of tones to get a sense of what tone would work best. 

Be consistent with your writing tone

Maintain a consistent tone throughout your piece to avoid confusion and maintain a cohesive reading experience.

Sudden shifts in tone can disorient readers and diminish the effectiveness of your message. During your writing sessions, check your work to ensure you don’t suddenly shift the tone.

What is an example of tone?

An example of tone in writing conveys the emotions, feelings, or perspectives that the author wants to communicate. Here’s an example of two different tones applied to the same content:

Formal tone: It is imperative that you follow the appropriate protocol. 

Informal tone: Hey, team, let’s make sure to stick to the rules! 

What are different types of mood tones?

Mood and tone are related aspects of writing but refer to slightly different elements, and some of the different types of mood tones include joyful, happy, sad, mysterious, and uplifting. 

The mood is the emotional atmosphere a piece of writing creates for the reader, while the tone is the author’s attitude toward the subject or audience. Together, they help shape the overall feel of a piece.

How many different types of tones are there?

There is no fixed list of the different types of tones, as there are many nuances in the types of tones an author can use in their writing.

For example, some of the most common ones are formal, informal, optimistic, pessimistic, assertive, motivating, passionate, serious, curious, and surprised. 

If you learned a lot about the various writing tones, check out these articles next!

Use tone to convey different types of emotions to your reader!

Mastering the types of tones is a powerful tool for authors to communicate and connect with their audience effectively.

By understanding and utilizing tones in writing, you can create engaging and impactful content.

Whether conveying formality, sparking motivation, or evoking surprise, tone can help you write as you choose topics to write about and encourage a range of emotions in your readers.

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