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There are two concepts that go by the name of Voice where writing is concerned. There is a writing voice, which is the individual voice of an author, and grammatical voice, which relates to subjects are verbs.

Writing Voice

The writer's voice is the individual writing style of an author, a combination of their common usage of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text.

Voice can be thought of in terms of the uniqueness of a vocal voice machine. As a trumpet has a different voice than a tuba or a violin has a different voice than a viola, so the words of one author have a different sound than the words of another. One author may have a voice that is light and fast paced while another may have a dark voice.

Grammatical Voice

In grammar, the voice of a verb describes the relationship between the action (or state) that the verb expresses and the participants identified by its arguments (subject, object, etc.). When the subject is the agent or doer of the action, the verb is in the active voice. When the subject is the patient, target or undergoer of the action, the verb is said to be in the passive voice.

Active Voice

Active voice is the unmarked voice for clauses featuring a transitive verb in nominative–accusative languages.

Active voice is used in a clause whose subject expresses the agent of the main verb. That is, the subject does the action designated by the verb. A sentence whose agent is marked as grammatical subject is called an active sentence. In contrast, a sentence in which the subject has the role of patient or theme is named a passive sentence, and its verb is expressed in passive voice. Many languages have both an active and a passive voice; this allows for greater flexibility in sentence construction, as either the semantic agent or patient may take the syntactic role of subject.

Passive Voice

Passive voice is a grammatical voice wherein the grammatical subject expresses the theme or patient of the main verb – that is, the person or thing that undergoes the action or has its state changed. This contrasts with active voice, in which the subject has the agent role. For example, in the passive sentence "The tree was pulled down", the subject (the tree) denotes the patient rather than the agent of the action. In contrast, the sentences "Someone pulled down the tree" and "The tree is down" are active sentences.


Tone can be loosely defined as the general character or attitude of a character/person, place, piece of writing, situation, etc. Tone may be formal, informal, intimate, solemn, somber, playful, serious, ironic, condescending, or many other possible attitudes (basically, if it's an adjective, it can be used to describe the tone of something).

Difference between tone and mood

Despite common believe, tone and mood are not the same.

Works of literature are often conceptualized as having at least one theme, or central question about a topic; tone is how that theme is approached within the work of literature.

The mood of a piece of literature is how the work makes the reader feel. Mood is produced most effectively through the use of setting, theme, voice and tone.


All pieces of literature, whether they are fictitious or otherwise, have some sort of tone. Authors create tone through the use of various other literary elements, such as diction or word choice; syntax, the grammatical arrangement of words in a text for effect; imagery, or vivid appeals to the senses; details, facts that are included or omitted; and figurative language, the comparison of seemingly unrelated things for sub-textual purposes.

Tone represents attitudes and feelings a speaker (in poetry) and a narrator (in fiction) has towards a subject, situation, and/or the intended audience. It is important to recognize that the speaker/narrator is not to be confused with the author and that attitudes and feelings of the speaker or narrator should not be confused with those of the author.

In many cases, the tone of a work may change and shift as the speaker or narrator’s perspective on a particular subject alters throughout the piece.

Setting tone

Authors set a tone in literature by conveying emotions/feelings through words. The way a person feels about an idea/concept, event, or another person can be quickly determined through facial expressions, gestures and in the tone of voice used. The possible tones are bounded only by the number of possible emotions a human being can have.

In addition, using imagery in a poem is helpful to develop a poem's tone.

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