The Fundamentals Of Tone In Writing

A pen on blue paper

The fundamentals of tone in writing are never without merit.


“Tone” refers to the internal manner in which an author writes. It is the voice you hear in your head when you read what is provided. This poses a great manner for people to communicate, allowing for us to see what written communication “emotion” is being portrayed or expressed. This allows great gratuity! When we write using great tone, we are allowing others to discover the emphasis we have on certain words, on certain phrases, and always, always under different circumstances. The writer uses tone to designate how they want you to feel.


Think about this: you are reading a horror story, but it comes off as too playful. Ever see a scary movie that ends up not being so scary? This may be because the director did not use the proper methods to employ the fearful response he or she wanted. Thus, you went for a fun, frightening experience and you had to settle with a playful take on what was meant to be a scary movie. This is the value of tone in writing. It is a tenuous process to write a book, a screenplay, or even web copy. When we emphasize our wording using the proper emotions, we win every time.


It is hard to say, exactly, how to maintain the inflection in your voice.

When we speak out loud, we hear our emotions in the wordings, the way we say things, the gestures we make…but when writing, it is much more difficult to do that. One way to use this to your advantage is to imagine the experience you want your readers to have. Do you want them to cringe? Do you want them to fear? If cringe, include wording appropriate for a disgusting response. Say: “The scenery was blackened, brought upon by the epitaph of motions portrayed, with blood scattered across the floor…and there he was.” In comparison, see the below example for how to do this the wrong way.


Now, in comparison, imagine I wanted to initiate that same response, but in a playful manner. “”The scenery was blackened, brought upon by the epitaph of motions portrayed” now becomes: “The area was pretty dark, and the movement was simple, cheery, and kind of dark.” Though it may sound like I simply changed the words, you can see how the response insinuates less fear. The emotions you want your audience to feel are the essence of great writing. This occurs even in copywriting, where sometimes we have to simplify our wording for the sake of tone. When you write a resume, you want a professional tone. When you write an email to your best friend, you want your tone to be more subtle and friendly.

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Standing out is important.


We are not just speaking about narrative factors. What if you are writing a resume? You have to make sure to sound professional and courteous, hard-working and diligent. When writing something such as a resume, you want to make sure you sound like a true professional. Mind you, most of this has been about narratives and fiction, but it is not limited to that. When writing a resume, you want to use the right voice. Write: “Factored algorithms into the company’s code” rather than “I put together the right coding for the company.” This sounds unprofessional, lazy, and when you use an active voice in a resume, you fail. Why is this the case?

For starters, it sounds unprofessional.


Tone emphasizes the foundation for the reader’s journey. Writing a boring book can still succeed, believe it or not. Do remember that the average writing and reading level of an American adult is between a 6th grade and 11th grade reading level. Do not try to overstep boundaries. I may write professionally, or maybe not, but I do know that this article may not be received by all. This is because most of us have a lower reading level, but does that mean you cannot succeed? Using tone in your wording can make or break a great reading or writing experience. This is the foundation of great creative copywriting that leaves one stunned!

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We touched bases on narrative writing, but what about in the business sector? What happens when you use an unprofessional voice in a business plan? What if you write in a report: “I was writing the article with great poise, and I happened to notice this fundamental thing that was wrong.” Did you notice the error? That is correct: “…fundamental thing that was wrong.” Now, if you say this to a friend, will they react differently to if you said: “I was writing this grand article with great poise, and it struck me that there was something relatively off about the project.” Again, this allows the reader to understand what point you are trying to get across. You want to make sure professional wording is used in a professional setting.

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Tone in everyday life matters. When dealing with friends, family, or strangers, we all react differently to the way something is said. Why is this any different in the business world? Simple: that word, “business.” When we are emphasizing tone in daily life, we are okay using slang, less prominent active voice, and saying certain verbiage in a manner meant for (you guessed it) everyday life. Remember to emphasize tone even in this realm. You never know who you may be talking to, and that stranger may insinuate a different reaction to you based on the tone you use. This includes writing, reading, and everything you can possibly imagine.

Remember to know your audience!



As always, we offer great writing for negotiable rates. You need someone like myself or my team running your writing. Whether web copy, a blog, a social media post, an ad campaign, a book to reveal your credibility and expertise, or a business plan, it can and will be done for a price. Simply reach out to us in the form below and let us know what you think. Are we worth the time? Schedule a fifteen-minute call with us and we will convince you that we are the most likely shot you have at owning success. If you are tired of freelancers, come to us!

Published by Ryan W. McClellan

Entrepreneur, Author & Business Consultant With A Background In Multimedia & Content Development

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