Essence of Tone in Letter Writing

Published: 11th May 2011
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Misc Letters

Tone is an essential part of letter writing as it reflects the attitude of the writer towards the reader and to the subject as well. The words, phrases, statements, and the kind of language used in the letter clearly define the writerís tone that to a great extent affects the reader.

Anyone who writes should take care of the tone as it can leave a constructive as well as destructive impact on the readerís mind and heart. The kind of tone can actually change the complete meaning of the declaration by just modifying or altering the inflection and emphasizing on certain words. Every word should be carefully chosen and the language should be promising and soft.

When writing a writer should consider the kind of document and then take a wise judgment on what kind of tone should be used. For example, if it is a formal letter the tone should be professional, a condolence letter should have a somber tone, and a letter of invitation should have a welcoming tone.

There are many options that can be used for letter tone, some of which are explained below:

1. Powerful or forceful tone is often used for granting permissions or for ordering subordinates and employees for specified tasks. In such cases writer has the power to make orders and the same is used in writing. The kind of letter should be characterized by active voice, optimism, and a direct approach.

2. Impersonal tone can be sarcastic, envious, or insulting. The same sentence can convey different meanings when used with different expressions and tone. How the phrases and sentences are written define the tone and the way reader perceives the message. This is often used when a letter is written to create distances in a relationship or to maintain relationship on a strictly professional level. Such letters are often characterized by passive voice and a formal approach.

3. Personal tone is often used in personal communication to give a sincere compliment or a sincere advice. The kind is often used in letters that are written to support or strengthen a relationship. To achieve such kind of tone, the letter should be characterized by warm words, active voice, personal pronouns, and a natural or conversational writing style.

4. Reflexive tone is often used when a letter is written to seniors or superiors for any kind of business or personal communication. It is a kind that conveys a request, a humble demand, or a softly expressed requirement. To achieve such a kind of tone, the letter should be written in passive voice with emphasis on solutions to specified problems.

For more specific letter types, check Misc. Letters.

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