From Gerald R. Lucas
📝 English Composition Writing FAQ 11011102📖

Use a Positive, Objective Tone

Tone refers to the writer’s attitude or feelings toward the subject matter or the audience. It can be described as the overall mood or feeling that the essay conveys. The tone can be formal, informal, serious, humorous, critical, or any combination of these. It is established through word choice, sentence structure, and overall writing style. The tone of an essay can greatly influence how the reader interprets the content and the writer’s message.

A positive, objective tone in writing can help to establish credibility, establish a connection with the reader, and create a more persuasive argument. Here are some tips on how to use a positive, objective tone in your writing:

  • Use clear and concise language: Avoid using overly complex or technical language that may confuse or alienate the reader. Use words and phrases that are easy to understand and convey your message clearly.
  • Avoid personal biases and emotions: While it’s fine to have personal opinions, you should present them in an objective manner. Avoid using emotional language or personal biases that may detract from your argument or turn off your reader.
  • Use evidence to support your claims: A positive, objective tone can be strengthened by using factual evidence to support your arguments. Use data, statistics, and examples to back up your claims and strengthen your argument.
  • Acknowledge and address counterarguments: Rather than ignoring or dismissing opposing viewpoints, acknowledge them and address them in a respectful manner. This can help to establish credibility and show that you have thoroughly considered all sides of the issue.
  • Be professional and respectful: Maintain a professional and respectful tone throughout your writing. Avoid using slang or informal language, and treat your reader with respect.

Consider the following examples:

Original: “Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly delivered a verdict that favored Microsoft’s position in the Justice Department’s anti-trust case.”
Revised: “Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s verdict amounts to little more than a slap on the wrist for the monopolist Microsoft.”

The former example maintains an objective, dispassionate view of a judge’s verdict by presenting only the information in a neutral way. The second example shows displeasure with the verdict by offering an opinion and choosing the word “monopolist” to underscore the writer’s feelings toward the verdict and Microsoft.

Let’s try another:

Original: “I don’t understand why anyone would support that candidate. They’re clearly unqualified and don’t have any experience.’
Revised: “Based on my research and analysis, it appears that the candidate may not have the necessary qualifications and experience for the role. It would be helpful to consider alternative candidates who may be better suited for the position.”

Words have both denotative and connotative meanings. The denotative meaning is a neutral dictionary definition while the connotative meaning carries contextual weight and delivers additional emotional associations. Denotatively, “monopolist” in the example above is a critique of Microsoft that delivers the writer’s negative position toward the company and the judge’s verdict.

Tone delivers the writer’s attitude about the subject to the reader. Think of tone carefully: what your words suggest to your audience about your attitude is as important as what they mean.

Written: 2002, 2022; Revised: 05-1-2023; Version: Beta 0.7 💬