18 Types of Tones in Writing: A Simple Guide for Writers

Types of Tones in Writing

You aren’t alone if you’re confused about the difference between “voice” and “tone” in writing. Many writers conflate the two. 

Whether you’re writing a novel, a blog post, an article, or a poem, it’s essential to know the difference so you can communicate with readers in a way that resonates. 

Your writing voice reflects who you are, your unique personality and character that should flavor everything you write.

The tone is the attitude with which you write it. 

So, voice is what you say, and tone is how you say it. 

That sounds simple, so let’s dig deeper. 

The reader gets feelings and emotions from your writing and word choices. These writing choices are referred to as a written piece’s tone, similar to the tone of voice employed when talking vocally. Understanding tone and its use in different writing approaches will help you decide how to communicate your message to others.

What Exactly is a Tone in Writing?

The tone of writing relates to the emotion the words evoke in the reader. A written piece can have a good or uplifting tone or be sorrowful or tense. When you write, your current mood may influence the overall tone of your essay.

You can also use your feelings regarding the topic or circumstance in writing to set the tone. The verbs and adjectives you employ, as well as how you use images to communicate the story, all impact the tone of a piece.

Tone also refers to the writing’s complexity and the formality of the words utilized. A more formal article may reflect a more serious theme, whereas a humorous story may employ less formal vocabulary and diction. The tone in literature refers to how an author displays their attitude throughout their work.

Tone may remain consistent throughout a composition or fluctuate to represent a movement in the story or mood. An author may also utilize different tones in different pieces of writing.

How to Avoid Mistakes Choosing the Tone

Here are some traps to avoid while establishing and implementing your new tone of voice.

When distinguishing your brand from the competition, the significance of a robust and consistent tone of voice cannot be overstated. However, designing and using a tone of voice requires consideration. Here are some things to stay away from:

Introducing your ideas to your audience

You admire Apple’s tone of voice and want your brand to sound the same. The only problem is that your primary audience is insurance intermediaries, and you need help fitting your content within the TOV concepts you’ve come up with.

The tone of voice allows you to be creative. On the other hand, a voice that does not communicate with its audience or function in tandem with the messages it needs to transmit cannot be expected to succeed. Work with your material and your listeners rather than against them. It will be more difficult, but the outcomes will be better.

Not allowing people to express themselves

It may appear quicker and easier to gather a few highly involved stakeholders and creatives to brainstorm your tone of voice. However, removing interested persons from your organization may result in missed insights and being uninformed of difficulties until the last minute.

Keeping the big ideas in mind

You’ve done your research, brainstormed, and created a set of inventive, expressive tonal values. You specified them in a document that you sent to everyone. Work completed. So, what’s the deal with your content creators not getting your new tone?

The tone of voice must be both realistic and artistic. Tonal values are only the beginning point; you must create powerful examples demonstrating how the tone should be used. And the dos and don’ts are as vital.

Types of Tones in Poems

The tone of a poem can be anything from

  • lighthearted, 
  • hilarious, 
  • Abashed
  • Abrasive
  • abusive
  • accepting
  • acerbic
  • Acquiescent
  • Admiring
  • adoring
  • Affectionate
  • aghast
  • allusive
  • amused
  • regretful, etc. — and it can alter as the poem progresses. 

Types of Tone in a Story

  • worried
  • foolish
  • smart
  • depressing
  • scared
  • anxious
  • excited

How to Create a Voice for Your Writing

Is there anything you’ve written that you later learned was a failure? Here’s what you can do to stop it:

18 Types of Tone in Writing

While reviewing the definition of tone in writing, you may also look at examples of tone to better understand how each might seem. If you find yourself needing to write an essay and grappling with the concept of tone, consider seeking assistance from an expert. You can hire an essay writer who can expertly guide you through the process.

Below are examples of tone in writing to make it easy for you:

1. Formal

A formal tone is typical in a professional or academic setting when the work needs to be straightforward and thorough while keeping a respectful tone. Formal writing frequently uses entire words with no contractions or other shorter words, and it does not include slang jargon. It is grammatically correct and favors facts over opinions. 

For example;” According to the facts presented, the yellow tree frog mates between April and June,” for example.

2. Informal

Informal is the inverse of formal in tone and sounds more conversational. An informal tone is when someone writes the same way they would speak to a friend. Informal writing may include colloquial or slang expressions and shorter words such as contractions. An informal work’s author may express more emotion and personal thoughts in the piece. 

For example, “Hey, how’s it going?” I’m phoning to ask if you want to see a movie with my friends and me tonight?”

3. Tense

A suspenseful tone keeps the reader guessing about what may happen next. When writing a mystery or thriller, an author may utilize a tight tone to evoke feelings of dread and concern. In most stories, a tense tone leads to a resolution and the tone shifts. Worried is another word for a tense tone, which can make the reader feel uneasy or apprehensive about what is to follow.

“She hurriedly searched the room for the killer, who she knew was in the darkness. 

” For example. She rushed blindly through the expanse, hoping to find and stop him before it was too late, and he went on to his next victim.”

4. Pessimistic

A pessimistic tone expresses a poor outlook on a situation or the idea that it will not improve. Pessimism is not realism. However, an author may utilize this tone when feeling down or trying to portray an opposing point of view. 

For example, “I was diagnosed with cancer, and my dog died.” “I just don’t think anything will improve very soon.”

5. Optimistic

Optimism is the opposite of pessimistic in that it positively sees the world. Even in difficult times, an optimistic tone expresses the idea that things will improve.

For example, “Despite the civil upheaval in my city, I believe I can make things better and witness a meaningful change in my lifetime,” for example.

6. Surprised

It’s not uncommon to see a post on social media that goes viral with a single catchy phrase or sentence. These posts usually accompany a funny picture or meme that makes readers laugh, smile, or even feel something more profound.

Surprise can also be created through an unexpected twist in your text. For example, suppose you’re writing about how to heal from a heartbreak and suddenly mention your ex-boyfriend living in the neighborhood or having an important job interview at the same time. In that case, this will cause readers to pause and reflect on what you’ve written.

7. Friendly

A friendly tone and kind demeanor, one that does not inspire fear and wins trust. Depending on the subject matter you are writing about, this tone might also contain a combination of professional and informal tones. In general, it has a cheerful and charitable tone. Exclamation points can communicate passion and friendliness.


“Esther smiled broadly at me and nodded enthusiastically while remaining hidden behind the curtain.”

“What a wonderful little dog!”

“Happy birthday, friend!”

8. Sad

The experience of sadness is a natural and unavoidable aspect of being human. Our most difficult experiences help shape who we are as individuals in many respects. When a tone is used in writing, the reader will feel sympathy for the characters or the author, which will keep them interested in the narrative.

9. Worried tone

Your reader may get more fearful and concerned about the circumstance if you write in a worried tone. It gives one the impression of being in danger because of something unknown.


His anxiety level was high.

He approached the package with trepidation, not knowing what to anticipate.

10. Encouraging tone

The primary objective of a writer is to encourage the reader through an encouraging tone in their writing. The reader will be able to conquer their fears and become more fearless from reading this.


You’ve got this, so permit yourself to take a deep breath.

My father always instructed me to jump with both feet together.

Let’s motivate and inspire one another to achieve our goals.

11. Curious

A sense of curiosity suggests that the writer or a character is interested in learning more about the subject or that the reader will continue acquiring new and relevant information. Writing with a sense of wonder is expected when the author explores a topic for the first time or describes a child’s enthusiasm for learning. Keeping the reader interested is essential to keeping them reading.

On the way to school, he probed for answers, such as “Why are the birds flying in a V-shaped pattern?” and “Will you be here to pick me up from my nap?”

12. Uplifting

Writing in an encouraging tone inspires hope and confidence in the reader, giving them the strength to face obstacles and go forward in their lives. Many authors and speakers in the self-help genre take an optimistic approach.

Jason’s mother reminded him to keep a positive attitude and a grin on his first day back at school in his new wheelchair. He rolled himself into class, and his fellow students were more than pleased to push his wheelchair and sit with him while saying kind things and being supportive

13. Aggressive

To express annoyance or rage, one can use an assertive tone. Aggressive writers often use hostile or nasty language to make their points.

Such a sentence as “The answer is no, and I don’t want to hear another word about it for as long as we both live” is an example of an absolute refusal to entertain further discussion of the topic.

14. Assertive

Many people mistakenly believe that an assertive tone is the same as an aggressive one, yet there is a significant difference between the two. An aggressive tone comes out as furious or harsh, while an assertive one expresses authority and confidence. When writing confidently, authors typically unambiguously offer their points of view, which leaves little space for debate.

She talked with unwavering conviction, and her audience felt compelled to join the committee and effect change in their neighborhood.

15. Informative

An instructive tone aims to educate the reader. A  tone of voice is frequently informative in educational materials.

The human brain, which comprises millions of cells, coordinates the body’s many activities.

16. Entertaining

The goal of adopting a humorous tone is to make the content more enjoyable to the reader. It could be hilarious and make the reader laugh, or it could just be entertaining.

“Knock, knock, who’s there?” is an example of a doorbell ringing. Nobel. As in, “Nobel who?” There was no doorbell, so I knocked.

17. Sarcastic

Sarcasm is used to show disdain or make fun of someone or something. Since sarcasm is defined as a type of verbal irony, it is more difficult to use it in written form. Sarcasm, however, can be conveyed in literature by describing the characters’ expressions.

For example, Emma rolled her eyes, said, “Okay, whatever you say goes,” and walked away resolutely from the bully.

18. Cooperative

Most workplace writing takes on a cooperative tone, stressing the importance of everyone pitching in to achieve success. Positive and cooperative aspects and expressions that imply a willingness to work together are common in texts written in a cooperative tone.

For example, Say you’re about to offer a plan for a new project, and then say something like, “After I present my proposal, I would love to hear your comments and will open the meeting up to sharing by everyone on the team.”

Bottom Line

Knowing how to use tones in your writing effectively is crucial. You can give your novels and poems a fresh spin by using these shades of color within the text.

Still, keep in mind that these aren’t the only tones available. You should try out several voices to develop your writing skills further.