15 Different Types of Tones in Writing: Must-Know Guide for All Writers

In face-to-face interactions, various cues such as verbal expressions, auditory signals, and visual gestures communicate your sentiments about the topic at hand. For instance, facial expressions, pitch in your voice, and hand movements provide additional insights into your attitude toward a subject.

Similarly, diverse tones in written communication serve a comparable purpose. They use words, sentence constructions, and punctuation preferences to depict your emotional stance regarding the content you are conveying.

In order to become a skilled and effective writer, it is essential to understand the different types of tones in writing and how to incorporate them into your work. Whether you are writing a persuasive essay, a creative story, or a professional email, mastering the art of tone can elevate your writing to new heights. In this guide, we will explore 15 different types of tones in writing that every writer should know.

What Are Tones In Writing?

The tone in writing encompasses the emotional resonance elicited in the reader. A written composition can convey a positive, uplifting ambiance, or it may evoke feelings of sadness or tension. Your current mood during the writing process can significantly influence the overall tone of your piece.

Furthermore, the emotions you hold toward the narrative or situation being presented contribute to shaping the tone in written communication. Elements such as the choice of verbs and adjectives, as well as the incorporation of imagery, play pivotal roles in conveying the intended tone.

Tone also encapsulates the intricacy of the writing and the level of formality embedded in the words chosen. A more formal piece is likely to mirror a serious subject matter, whereas a more casual, lighthearted narrative might employ less formal language and diction. In literary contexts, tone pertains to how the author expresses their attitude throughout the entirety of their writing.

The tone might stay the same throughout a piece, or it might change to reflect a shift in the story or mood. An author might also use different tones in various pieces they write.

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15 Different Types of Tones in Writing

There are many types of tones in writing, making possibilities endless as you craft your personal voice in your writing. Below are the 15 most common tones, as well as specific vocabulary and techniques you can use to achieve them.

1. Formal

A formal writing tone is common in academic or professional contexts. This tone focuses on being thorough and direct, yet respectful. It uses full words, rather than contractions, and emphasizes facts and grammatical correctness.


  • “The committee will not vote on the matter”
  • “According to the data. . .
  • “To Whom It May Concern”
  • “Respectfully yours” 

2. Informal

An informal tone is the opposite of a formal tone. Informal tone in writing is conversational and expressive, similar to how you’d speak to a friend. It uses contractions, colloquial phrases, and more emotion. Its sentence structure can be shorter with a choppy rhythm, or it can be long and chatty.


  • Nah—I’ve got tons of time to do my chores”
  • “Hey, what’s up?”
  • . . . Sandra laughed as she jokingly shoved her friend’s shoulder”

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3. Optimistic

When adopting an optimistic tone in writing, you are expressing a feeling of hope and a positive perspective towards the future. Even while acknowledging the challenges of the present day, the use of positive language instills a sense of aspiration in the readers.


  • . . . David said with a reassuring smile
  • “hopeful”
  • “hang in there” 

4. Worried

A worried tone can make your reader apprehensive and afraid. It communicates feelings of anxiousness about something unknown.


  • “My hand tentatively reached for the knob, shaking as I held my breath. . .”,
  • rocked back and forth, looking out of the window every second. . .
  • “stressed”

5. Friendly

A friendly writing tone is welcoming and inspires trust. It may incorporate elements of formality or informality, depending on the context. Typically, it is cheerful and amiable, and the use of exclamation points can convey warmth and enthusiasm.


  • “Esther gave me a cheerful thumbs up from behind the curtain”
  • “What a sweet puppy!”
  • “Happy birthday, buddy!” 

6. Curious

Next on our list of different tones in writing is the curious tone. This tone tells the reader that there are compelling details that you still want to uncover. This tone can be used creatively to keep the reader intrigued about learning more.


  • “The mystery gift didn’t reveal the sender’s name. . .”,
  • “Tillie had a list of questions in her brain, hungry to uncover the truth. . .
  • “wondering”

7. Assertive

An assertive tone radiates assurance and authority, often characterized by a direct and insistent manner. Employing this tone can be effective in persuading your audience on a given topic.


  • “She wasn’t fazed while walking up to the podium. . .
  • “Daniel said with undeniable conviction that commanded the room. . .
  • “resolute”

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8. Encouraging

An encouraging tone is supportive and understanding. It gives readers reassurance to overcome their fears and take action.


  • “I remembered mom’s advice to take a deep breath and jump in. . .
  • “Embolden”
  • “You’ve got this!”

9. Surprised

When employing a surprised tone in writing, you are conveying the unexpected nature of something. This tone has the potential to evoke various forms of astonishment, whether it be joy, shock, or other emotions.


  • “He opened the door and his eyes widened upon seeing me. . .
  • “took their breath away. . .
  • “stunned”

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10. Cooperative

A cooperative tone is common in the workplace. Your word choice—often evoking positivity and collaboration—and use of the pronoun “we” work together to invite mutual participation toward a shared goal.


  • “I’d love to hear your thoughts about it”
  • “collaborative”
  • “we/our”
  • We showed an allied front”

11. Uplifting

An uplifting tone conveys a supportive and motivating feeling, providing reassurance to the reader that they can overcome challenging situations or take new steps in their journey. Using an uplifting tone is common among self-help authors and motivational speakers.


  • The world may throw raindrops, but remember, you hold the rainbow inside

12. Sarcastic

A sarcastic tone frequently communicates disdain or ridicules an alternative perspective. Employing sarcasm in writing poses a greater challenge due to its nature as a form of verbal irony. Nevertheless, authors can convey sarcasm in their writing by simultaneously elucidating the characters’ expressions.

Example“Rolling her eyes, Emma responded to the bully, ‘Okay, whatever you say goes,’ and then forcefully walked away.”

13. Descriptive tone

Creating an engaging reader experience is facilitated by the ‘Descriptive tone.’ This tone utilizes abundant details, vibrant imagery, and sensory language to animate stories, allowing readers to vividly envision the subject.

A descriptive tone resembles crafting a visual representation with language. It explores the intricacies, textures, colors, and emotions within a scene or concept. Its purpose extends beyond mere information, aiming to immerse the reader fully into the narrative.


  • Sunlight, a warm hand on my cheek, coaxed open sleepy sunflowers, their faces tilted towards the promise of a sky painted in vibrant strokes of apricot and lavender.

How To Choose Your Tones When Writing

Selecting appropriate tones in writing involves thoughtful consideration of various factors to effectively convey your intended message and connect with your audience. Here are some guidelines on how to choose your tones when writing:

  1. Define Your Purpose:
    • Clarify the purpose of your writing. Whether it’s to inform, entertain, persuade, or evoke emotions, understanding your goal will guide your choice of tone.
  2. Know Your Audience:
    • Consider the demographics, interests, and expectations of your audience. Tailor your tone to resonate with them and establish a connection.
  3. Match the Content:
    • Align the tone with the content of your writing. A formal or serious topic may require a more reserved tone, while a casual or lighthearted subject can accommodate a relaxed tone.
  4. Consider the Context:
    • Take into account the context in which your writing will be consumed. The tone of an academic essay differs from that of a social media post or a creative story.
  5. Adapt to the Genre:
    • Different genres often demand specific tones. Adjust your tone based on whether you are writing fiction, non-fiction, academic papers, or promotional content.
  6. Reflect Your Personality:
    • Infuse your writing with your unique voice and personality. Readers appreciate authenticity, so let your tone reflect who you are as a writer.
  7. Use Tone to Emphasize Points:
    • Vary your tone strategically to emphasize key points or ideas. For instance, use a more assertive tone when presenting arguments or a compassionate tone when addressing sensitive subjects.

FAQs On Types of Tones in Writing

What is a writing tone?

Writing tone refers to the author’s attitude and emotional expression in their written communication. It influences how the reader perceives the content, and different tones can convey various emotions or perspectives.

How many types of tones are there in writing?

There are several types of tones in writing, including but not limited to formal, informal, serious, humorous, optimistic, pessimistic, formal, informal, friendly, and authoritative.

What is the difference between tone and mood in writing?

While tone reflects the author’s attitude, mood pertains to the overall emotional atmosphere created for the reader. The tone is the author’s expression, while the mood is the reader’s emotional response to the writing.


Writing is a versatile form of expression that allows for a variety of tones to be used depending on the context and purpose of the piece. From persuasive and informative to comedic and sarcastic, each tone serves a unique function in capturing the reader’s attention and conveying the desired emotion.

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