Tone in Essay Writing – A Guide for the Writers


When it comes to writing an essay, most people tend to get confused between two things –

  • The voice of your article
  • The tone you are using to describe it

The writing voice of your essay will reflect who you precisely are and how unique your personality is. It will offer a tinge of personal flavor to your writing and make it more enjoyable to read.

But, tone is your writing attitude or how you are expressing your viewpoint. It’s basically how you are saying something to someone in front of you.

Wait, did you understand what I’m trying to say?

Hmm, okay, let’s elaborate a little.

What Does ‘Tone’ Mean in Writing?

When we communicate with someone, we use our ‘tone’ to express our temperament. Sometimes, we do it knowingly, while, in other cases, we tend to be a little unconscious about the fact.

Imagine, you have an appointment with me and you’ve arrived an hour late due to a traffic jam.

‘So, you’re always this punctual?’ I ask you with a grin on my face. My smile, here, sends a clear and concise message – I am not angry or upset about your action. I’m only being sarcastic.

Now, that’s what tone is.

When it comes to writing, tone works in a pretty similar manner. Yes you certainly can’t smile through the words you wrote. But you can make it seem like you’re smiling while you were writing.

Try to avoid the core mistake of telling your reader about what to feel. Instead, try to convey what you feel or your attitude with carefully chosen words to create the perfect tone for your story.

How Can You Develop Your Writing Tone?

Sometimes, when I write something, I feel like it’s going pretty well at first. However, once I begin to read it, I feel like the entire thing has fallen flat on the ground. So, here’s how I usually avoid this.

  • I usually focus more on the audience I’m writing for rather than what I personally feel about a Topic. It helps me write in a more friendly and straightforward manner, as if I’m having a chat with you. You can also make the job easier by avoiding words that may require a dictionary.
  • The tone that I most prominently use tends to trigger the theater of my reader’s mind. I love to make my readers think and contemplate what I’ve shared with them. Once they start to ponder or imagine, that’s when they can truly enter the thoughts I’m trying to convey.
  • Another thing that you can try to improve your tone is by using conflict masterfully. Honestly, the constant ebb and flow of tension in a write-up can make a reader get into the shoes of any character in your story. And using a conflicting tone can plunge life into your writing.
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Usually, these are a few tips that can certainly help you with developing your tone. But, I don’t think it is enough for you to improve how you express your viewpoint. So like me, if you, too, don’t think that the information is adequate for you, make sure to move to the next section.

The Common Types of Tones (With Examples)

As you can already understand from the subheading, I am going to talk about some of the prevalent or common types of tones used while writing an essay. I have added an example or two with them as well so that you can have a better understanding of the topic. So, let’s get to reading.

1: Appreciative Tone

An appreciative tone is generally used when you are describing something that you cherish desirably. I usually write in this tone, when I am working on a personal essay. Here’s how I use it –

“I was wandering amidst the lushful garden in the hotel I was staying at and, suddenly, I saw her. She was beautiful, like how a full moon looks in the darkest of nights.”

It sounds romantic, I know.

However, that’s because of my voice or what was going on in my mind when I was reminiscing about her. In the end, I was appreciative of their beauty, but our voice makes it sound amorous.

2: Formal Tone

A formal tone, as the name implies, is all about being professional and straightforward. In this aspect, you will simply have to make a plain face and jot down information strictly. It might not be engaging, but it’s usually not used while writing a story. So, don’t worry too much about it.

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Here’s an example of writing in a formal tone –

“According to a report, summer is considered as the period of reproduction for the yellow tree frogs.”

It’s strict, to the point, and offers the information you are looking for. There’s no flowery stuff here.

3: Informal Tone

Unlike the former, you can do anything you want when using an informal tone. Well if you are writing an essay for your school or college, I would ask you to refrain from using slang.

But, yes, otherwise, you can do anything you want. I am not going to give any additional example for this one, though, as this entire article is written in an informal tone.

So, you probably can already understand what I’m hinting at, right?

Bonus – Tense Tone

Are you thinking about writing an essay with a touch thrill and frill into it? Well, in that case, it might be best to drop the common informal tone and go for something much more tense.

An example of it can be –

“I knew someone was looking at me in the room, but I couldn’t fathom who it was. I tried to look here and there frantically in search of the two beady eyes, but to no avail… Or that’s what I thought.

There she was, peeking at me from the keyhole of the door, with a gaping smile on her face. When our eyes locked with each other, I could hear only one thing before I lost my consciousness –

I found you!”

Yes, you guessed it right.

This type of tone is usually used when you are writing a thriller or a horror story. So, that’s how you’re able to employ the same to increase the tension and make people read even further.

The Bottom Line

So, that will be all for this article.

I hope I could convey the science behind how you should use a tone in your essay. However, if there is something else you want to know about, make sure to comment below.

And if you are still not confident in writing something on your own, you can also opt for a writing and proofreading service. Make sure to read more here to get more information in this context.

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Shankar is a tech blogger who occasionally enjoys penning historical fiction. With over a thousand articles written on tech, business, finance, marketing, mobile, social media, cloud storage, software, and general topics, he has been creating material for the past eight years.