Different Types of Tone in Writing

Human emotions can be expressed in different ways that describe exactly how we feel, including body language, verbal cues, facial expressions, voice pitch, and gestures. Writing tones are also used to serve the same purpose of communicating different meanings and ideas to reflect distinct themes in a text.

When you write a book, essay, speech, or paper, each of them follows different tones, styles of writing, and word choice, emphasizing what’s important and conveying the written text with the help of verbal cues, different tone of voice, and sentence structure.

If you’re an author or a ghostwriter and you’re interested in learning what different tones of writing are and how you can learn a specific tone to incorporate in your book or text, this article will help you understand each element. In the end, we also describe how you can develop the writing style that you can maintain throughout your books and tweak it when necessary.

The tone of a piece of writing is the attitude that it conveys towards the subject matter. The tone focuses on the voice which can be formal or informal, positive or negative, and emotional or detached. It can vary throughout, depending on the purpose of the text and the message that is being conveyed.

How do we determine the tone?

A writing style is set by its words, phrases, and sentences. If we look at these three aspects individually, we can see how each one contributes to the overall tone. Words are used to convey meaning, and how they are used can convey attitude towards what they refer to. Words that are descriptive tend to have positive connotations; those that are emotive tend to have negative connotations, and those that are vague do not convey any particular attitude.

A sentence describes action or events; how it describes these actions or events can also convey attitude. Sentences with lots of detail tend to be more descriptive and therefore are often more impartial. Sentences that are short and simple tend to be less detailed and therefore more emotive.

Phrases work in a similar way: they can be descriptive or emotive in nature, as well as being either specific or vague. So we see that overall, words have a lot of power to convey what needs to be said to create a specific tone to reflect the true meaning of your text.

5 Commonly Used Writing Tones

There are many different types of tones in writing that can be used depending on the type of text you want to write. As you explore different styles and voices, you’ll develop certain techniques, vocabulary, and word choices that will help you develop your personal writing style.

1. Formal tone

Formal tone

Formal writing tone refers to the one that uses correct grammar, proper language, and respects the intelligence of your audience. For example, this tone of writing would not use slang, but would rather use proper words with an appropriate meaning behind them. It also speaks with politeness and respect in mind. A writer who has a formal tone in their writing will likely sound very well-educated and someone who knows how to communicate their ideas well. The language used should be easy to understand and should be appropriate for any settings where the writing will be read.

To create a formal tone in your writing you need to determine what your goal is for writing it this way. This can be for a multitude of reasons such as educational purposes or for business purposes. Once you have determined what your goal is, then take into consideration the audience you are targeting or speaking with when you write your piece.


2. Informal tone

An informal tone is characterized by having a relaxed style, which is achieved through the use of colloquial language, contractions, and sentence fragments. The writer typically assumes his or her audience has a certain level of knowledge and experience with the subject matter discussed in the piece. Punctuation tends to be scanty, as unnecessary commas or periods are often left out altogether. Casual words and phrases are used to lighten the overall mood of the piece.

A conversational style is one where the writer speaks directly to the reader as if he were in conversation with the reader. This is achieved by using such things as informal speech patterns such as slang, nonstandard spellings, and inconsistent capitalization for emphasis. The author may ask rhetorical questions to get his message across without being overly authoritative or overbearing.


3. Assertive tone

An assertive tone of writing is one in which the writer communicates with attitude or confidence. The tone can be established by using firm language or by creating a sense of urgency for the reader.

This tone is perfect for informing, persuading, and instructing the reader on a specific topic. For example, an assertive tone might be used in a company policy manual, a letter to an employee, or a self-help book. An assertive tone is also commonly found in instructional articles related to niche topics. There are several features that make up a piece of writing assertive. These features are not definitive and can be balanced with other aspects of the written piece, such as the content, word choice, and style.


4. Optimistic tone

An optimistic tone of writing reflects positive emotions, hope, and faith in the writer’s tone. This type of tone is mostly used in motivational texts or fiction books towards the end of the story. The words are chosen to motivate the reader to feel love and hope in their surrounding world and help them find strength in the darkest of times.


5. Pessimistic tone

As opposed to the optimistic voice, a pessimistic writer’s voice conveys a nihilistic view of life which shows that the story or the subject has lost all hopes in life and finds nothing worth making them happy.


Other than formal or informal tones, there are other tones of writing as well such as humorous tone, curious tone, or cooperative tone that makes the subject material sound engaging, friendly, and funny and each is used based on the genre of your book.

How to Choose Your Tones

Have you ever read a book and liked it, but then read a review of it that made you want not to read it?

The tone is very important in writing. And there are different types of tone. In order to choose the best tone for your writing, you must decide who you’re writing for and who will be reading your text. It also depends on the type of book you want to write. For example, for a nonfiction book, the tone and voice throughout the book are mostly formal, objective, and somewhat friendly. For a fiction book, the tones can change based on the characters and sections of the book.

How to Develop Your Own Writing Style?

The answer lies in the tone they use when writing their paper. The tone is how a writer sounds when they write and it has three aspects: formality, familiarity, and colloquialism. Formality is the way a writer speaks when they are writing about serious topics in a serious way. Familiarity is the way a writer speaks when they are writing about light topics in a light way. Colloquialism is the way a writer speaks when they are writing about personal topics in an informal manner.

In order to write well, you must use all three of these aspects to create your own unique voice.

The last step to developing your unique voice is to make sure you use all three of these aspects in every piece of writing you do. If you are attempting to write something formal, familiar or colloquial, be sure that you do it correctly!

Most people will choose one type of tone that they believe is right for their paper and then stick with it throughout the entire paper. That kind of consistency will help bring your paper together and make it flow better as well as give the reader a better idea of what you are trying to say than if you were to switch back and forth between each aspect depending on the type of your text and you’re good to go.

Wrapping Up

To keep your reader intrigued, you need to be careful using the type of writing style and tone whether you’re writing a fiction or nonfiction book. Even if you’re new, you’ll gradually grasp the concept of different writing styles and tones and incorporate them into your books successfully.

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