A to Z Day 20: Tone

Tone is all about how an author treats the subject of a text and the audience. The two most common categories for tone

Click for A-Z blog list.

Click for A-Z blog list.

are “formal” and “informal,” but other words to describe it abound. “Solemn,” “friendly,” “sarcastic,” “condescending,” and “enthusiastic” are a few other examples.

Tone is sometimes confused or used interchangeably with mood; but they are different concepts. Tone is about the author’s attitude as expressed by things like diction, syntax, and point-of-view. Mood is about how a piece of writing affects the audience. So, tone has an influence on mood of a piece, and there are many words that can be used to describe both (somber, for example).

Many other aspects of a piece of writing can affect tone, including the amount of detail an author employs (see images), the sounds of the words themselves (see euphony), the level of specialization in the chosen vocabulary (see jargon), and the overall pace of the piece.

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell exactly what sort of tone you’re setting, and sometimes different readers will read the same words and interpret their tone differently. For example, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish “passionate” from “angry.” The only way to really be sure about the tone of a piece of writing is to have other people read it and give you feedback.


About Gene'O

Compulsive writer, amateur photographer, and blogaholic. Also an evil genius.

14 thoughts on “A to Z Day 20: Tone

  1. You almost at the end my friend, keep up the great work!


  2. Loved this post. So insightful. A big thanks for keeping up the writing quality of your posts on a daily basis for an entire month!


    • Gene'O says:

      I’m glad you think so, and I do try hard in the quality department. I felt like I should say more with this post, but in the end the deadline was the determining factor. Overall, I’m pleased with the way these April posts have turned out.


      • A lot of them! I love this month. I look forward to each new letter! It must be so much work for you though, still, on the receiving end, it’s wonderful to read great posts every day! πŸ™‚


  3. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I almost used this as a topic today. Great minds, but I think you said it better than I would have anyway πŸ™‚


  4. Miss Andi says:

    Great summary although I’m not sure if I agree with the conclusion in the last sentence but that’s certainly one way to do it. I think the more one writes, the more confident one can get with the tone they’re using. Thanks for the post, I’m glad you’ve included it, it’s a very important part of writing.


  5. Harliqueen says:

    What a great post, definitely something to think about whilst writing. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚


  6. […] has been absolutely amazing. Check out these great blogs and their amazing posts this week. One, on Tone, is The Writing Catalog and the other is on Twitter, by BCII. A big, big thanks to both for their […]


  7. […] 4: Revision – Social – Tone – Utopian – Villanelle – […]


  8. […] 4: Revision – Social – Tone – Utopian – Villanelle – […]


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