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Personal Writing Style and Tone

Generally speaking, personal writing style contributes to both positive and negative tone.

Personal Writing Helps Form:
  • Positive Tone
  • Negative Tone

Personal Writing and Positive Tone

Let’s explore how personal writing helps to create a positive tone. Look at this first example sentence using personal writing. If you would like to hear what this sounds like to a reader, click the audio button below. Make sure you have headphones or speakers.

  • Examiner Magas met with the management team to discuss her IT findings, and CIO Smith noted his appreciation for her input.

The use of personal pronouns (her and his ) and proper nouns (Magas and Smith) gives this a positive, personal tone. The message is positive; therefore, the tone should be, too. This sentence clearly identifies those who are involved with the issues at hand. Given that the writer is expressing appreciation, it is appropriate to indicate to whom and from whom that appreciation stems. Positive situations call for positive tone. Personal writing, in this situation, helps achieve a positive tone.

Personal Writing and Negative Tone

Let’s take a look at the following example, where personal writing is used to present negative information and to identify the parties involved. If you would like to hear what this sounds like to a reader, click the audio button below. Make sure you have headphones or speakers.

  • Examiner Magas explained that CIO Smith’s team failed to implement any of the action items from the last report and rejected its expansion application request until the examination issues are addressed.

The use of personal pronouns (its) and proper nouns (Magas and Smith) gives this a negative tone. The message is negative (Smith’s team failed to do what was asked and there are serious consequences), and therefore the tone should be as well. This sentence clearly identifies those who are involved with the issues at hand. Given that the writer is discussing a serious problem with obvious consequences, it is appropriate to point out who is at fault. Negative situations call for negative tone. Personal writing, in this situation, helps achieve a negative tone.

The Chameleon Effect

You might recall from the introduction of this lesson that we said personal writing is a bit of a chameleon. You probably noticed that the two example sentences from above share a number of similarities. Let’s compare them side-by-side. What do you notice about them that is similar? After you ponder this, click the reveal answer button below.

  • Examiner Magas met with the management team to discuss her IT findings, and CIO Smith noted his appreciation for her input.
  • Examiner Magas explained that CIO Smith’s team failed to implement any of the action items from the last report and rejected its expansion application request until the examination issues are addressed. 

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