10​​ Common Types of Tone in Writing You Should Follow & Master

tones in writing

Writing is something that comes from deep within! Your love and hunger for words keeps you motivated to transform your ideas into brand new sentences and paragraphs every time you feel like pouring your heart out.

True! No one can teach you to write the way you want to, but a little bit of grooming can certainly act as a guiding lamp in improving the way you write. Knowledge about various tones in writing followed by examples could prove to be a Holy Grail in this context.

What do you mean by ‘tones’ in writing?

As the term opines, your writing tone expresses your intention or the message you aspire to convey to your readers through your words. Imagine your HR sending you a message, “Hi! Can I have a word with you?” These few words would be enough to send shivers down your spine. It could well be your last official meeting in the office. Luckily, it was an appraisal meeting.

What a narrow escape! She could have rephrased her message the better way, like, “Hi! Would you mind coming to my cabin for a good news?” So what made the difference? Of course, it’s the tone. The first sentence sends a negative vibe while the latter one is full of hope. Notice the contrast in both the tones. The lesson learnt here is to have the right writing tones and style for your audience if you want to communicate with them well.

What are different types of tones in writing?

You can write in a whale of tones to speak your mind through words. Much will depend on the nature of writing you are working on. It could be an appreciation letter, a suspension letter, a birthday message, thanksgiving message, report about a cricket match, etc. In each of these writings, the tone will reflect your emotions, whether affirmative, negative, or impartial. In the following list of tones in writing, let’s know in detail about 10 most commonly used types.

1. Formal Tone

Among the different types of tones in writing, formal or dry tone is common in academics and offices. Instead of using contractions, decorative words or slang phrases, it includes writing a straight and respectful tone with due concern to grammar accuracy. Let’s understand it with some examples:

  • Respected Sir, this is to inform you that we have chosen you as the winner of our writing competition.
  • The data opines a significant shift of votes from Conservative Party to Labor Party in the United Kingdom.
  • Your flight has been delayed due to bad weather. The inconvenience caused is regretted.

2. Casual Tone

No prizes for guessing, this tone is just opposite to its formal counterpart. Yes, one of the common tones in writing, the casual or informal tone is more expressive, colloquial, and full of conversation. There is no limitation of contractions either and it could be a long or a short form of writing. You can think of a casual tone of writing as if you are talking to your friend.  

  • Hey dude, what’s up? Let’s hang out at the disco tonight.
  • Hi mate! It’s the sky up there. Nah…no thanks. I’ll be busy cooking pasta tonight!
  • This assignment on theory on relativity is damn boring. I’m just fed up.

3. Optimistic Tone

As hopeful as the word suggests, optimistic style refers to the positive tone in writing, which aims at inspiring the reader. Just like the happy ending in Indian films, it indicates that things will conclude on an optimistic note. In story books too, you might have read in the last page, “And they lived happily ever after”. Here are some more examples of the optimistic tone.

  • Things will be fine with time
  • The fans are still hopeful of Roger Federer’s comeback.
  • The war will end soon, reassured the President.

4. Humorous Tone

To make your readers laugh or at least smile, humorous tone is the best. It also helps to keep your audience engaged in your writing. Here are a few examples:

  • Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe. -Albert Einstein
  • Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe – Mark Twain
  • Your idea about combating poverty is just like a truck full of chopped trees flashing the message “Save Environment” at its rear.

5. Worried Tone

Among the various tones used in writing, this one creates a sense of insecurity and fear. You can have a glimpse of this tone in the horrifying new headlines these days. Fiction writers also prefer using negative tones in writing to create anxiety among their readers.

  • As the night became darker in the forest, she started screaming due to the fear of her life.
  • Worried and anxious, he opened the door, but found no one outside.
  • The Prime Minister was apprehensive of losing the trust votes in the parliament

6. Friendly Tone

You can call a friendly tone a mix of formal and informal types of tones used in writing. It is effective in inculcating trust among the readers with a non-threatening approach. Usually the friendly types of tone accompany exclamation marks as you can see in the examples below.

  • What a mesmerizing performance by Lady Gaga!
  • I just love this puppy!
  • Happy anniversary, sweetheart!

7. Curious Tone

The curious tone of writing expresses the desire of the writer to know about a specific scenario or a topic in depth. You can compare this tone with the curiosity of a child that inspires him to explore new things about the world every day. Naturally, the reader will find more interest in going through this particular writing tone and style.

  • The curious case of what comes first – Egg or Hen, still remains unsolved.
  • I wonder who’s in the bedroom when you are on call!
  • “If they cannot write with a pen in space, why didn’t they try a pencil?” Rancho inquired.

8. Assertive Tone

An assertive tone of writing conveys authority in its words. It helps the writer to convince the reader about a topic with confidence and ease.  

  • The romantic saga of Romeo and Juliet will continue to inspire people in love till eternity.
  • The confident speeches of Abraham Lincoln turned him from a nobody to the President of the United States.
  • He was determined to climb the mountain with a broken leg, and he did it eventually.

9. Cooperative Tone

One of the most positive and neutral tones in writing, the cooperative tone focuses on teamwork, rather than focusing on one individual. The use of words like “we”, “our”, “us” is common to enthral the audience.

  • “We all were corona warriors”, said the President to his countrymen
  • Let’s meet online tonight to discuss our future business strategy
  • Together, we can and we will, make the difference

10. Nostalgic Tone

A nostalgic tone of writing takes you down the memory lane. It compels you to recall your younger days. It could be your college or school time, the moments spent with your dear ones, or simply the good old days.

  • The Bell-Bottom trend is an instant reminiscent of the 80’s era.
  • Those stars in the sky take me back to my childhood
  • It’s great to have all the old partners in crime tonight; it reminds me of our college days. 


Your type of tone leaves a compelling effect on the minds of your readers. You might be questioning the administration, criticizing or appreciating the government policies, boosting the confidence of your friends, or describing past experiences through your writing. In each of these and even other instances, selection of the right tones of writing plays a deciding role in enthralling your staunch readers.

So, the next time you decide to write a fiction, biography, a blog post, or simply a poem, make sure to use the most befitting type of tone in your writing.

It will work wonders, for sure!

Home work: Identify the tone of the italicized sentence; we will wait for your answer in the comment box!