Tones That You Should Use in Your Writing

different types of tones in writing

To make your writing as multifaceted and engrossing as possible, it is important that you know how to efficiently use tones. So, what is tone and its different types? Tone is the way a writer uses words to convey non-verbal observations about specific subjects.

By using specific tones in your writing, you will be able to convey facts, emotions, and concepts more effectively. Tones are a bit tricky to use though. If you don’t use the right tone, your readers might misunderstand your intent and have a negative perception of you and your writing.

So, what are the different types of tones in writing? Here are some examples of tones that you could use:

1. Sad

If you want your readers to be emotionally invested in your writing, it is a good idea to utilize a sad tone in your writing. Sadness is a core emotional state for most people. 

We feel sad whenever something unfortunate happens to us or someone close to us. We could also feel sad whenever we empathize with someone. 

This person does not need to be close to use either. When you use a sad tone in your writing, your main goal should be to make the reader more sympathetic to your main character. 

This empathy will keep them interested in the story.


  • She died so suddenly…she was too young to depart this world.
  • The young man lost his hope, his love, and ultimately his life.

sad tone in writing

2. Horror

Horror is all about surprise and fear. When you use a horror-filled tone, your main intent should be to shock your readers to the core. 

Give them a fearful situation that they will have to confront.


  • He went down the well, only to find Bobby’s severed head at the bottom.
  • As the demon approached, a cold and foreboding feeling crept into the room.

3. Pessimistic

Being pessimistic is a state of mind wherein you expect the worst to happen. This does not really show the reality of the situation and is more like a mindset.


  • As far as I know, we’ll never reach home.
  • The enemy are too many! We’ll be slaughtered.

4. Humorous

This tone is by far one of the most useful tones because it allows you to draw your readers into the story. It is a very multifaceted tone. 

It not only makes your readers laugh, but it also lightens the overall mood of your writing.


  • She fell into the pool, amid laughter and applause.
  • The pie fell on the young lad’s face, yet he seemed very happy about it.

5. Optimistic

Like the pessimistic tone, the optimistic tone is more like a state of mind, rather than being a signifier of the reality within the story. The tone usually takes place in the narrator’s mind and is a reaction to a specific situation within the story.


  • He’s strong but lacks finesse. I believe I could beat him.
  • I don’t know why, but I feel very lucky today. A quick trip to the lottery office is in order.


6. Joy

Joy is by far one of the purest of all positive emotions and could be used as a specific tone to create a lighter and happier atmosphere in your writing. This type of tone is usually used in character interaction situations and is meant to create a sense of positivity in the story.


  • It warms my heart that you all came to my party!
  • Words failed him when he saw the huge library. It was a paradise for any bibliophile.

7. Encouraging

If you are going to use an encouraging tone, you should take a more understanding and supportive frame of mind. The encouraging tone is meant to uplift, and reassure readers. 

It could also be used to assuage readers about a specific fear that they have.


  • Don’t worry, as long as you do your part, we will succeed.
  • This endeavor of ours is close to completion. Don’t stop now!

8. Cooperative

When you use a cooperative tone, you should choose your words as carefully as possible. This type of tone is usually used in the workplace, or in situations where you will need group members to do their part. 

The tone should emanate a positive outlook on the job, and compel your audience to do their part.


  • If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear it.
  • As members of the same class, it would be wonderful if you could all attend the reunion.

9. Curious

When you use a curious tone in your writing, your main goal should be to compel your audience to get curious about a specific topic. It could be an unsolved mystery, or an unanswered query, what’s important is that you compel your readers to dig deeper and learn more about the topic.


  • An old book? I wonder if it is a first edition copy.
  • This old sword is rusted but still sharp… how is that possible?

10. Worried

This tone’s main intent is to make the reader apprehensive about a character or topic. In order to use a worried tone, you should use specific words and scenarios that will create a sense of unease and anxiety in your readers.


  • I am afraid that rickety bridge won’t be able to hold us both.
  • That area is the no man’s land and is lined with machine guns and trenches. I fear I won’t be able to get through this gauntlet.

11. Nostalgic

A nostalgic tone is meant to evoke a fondness for times long past. This is a useful tone if you have your characters reminiscing about their younger days or the way things were when they were younger. 

This tone could also be used if you are writing about specific eras such as the 70s or 80s.


  • I remember the war… how young and strong we were.
  • Do you still remember the taste of those strawberries? They were so sweet and tart.

12. Inspirational

This tone is meant to inspire readers to commit to a task or ideal. This could be used in a story where your main character calls his comrades to fight for an ideal. 

It could also be used in self-help books where you call on your reader to strive for something. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it with the inspirational language because it might sound corny.


  • Remember all the men and women who died for this cause…honor them by fighting on.
  • The young man ran the race. With only one leg, he bounded like a deer…oblivious to the limitations of this world.


When it comes to making your writing as effective as possible, it is important that you know how to use tones. By using these tones in your writing, you will be able to add a whole new facet to your writing. 

Remember though, that these are not the only tones out there. If you want to further expand your writing prowess, it is a good idea to experiment with other tones.

Happy writing!  

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