Top 80 List of Tone Words For Writers

Get a list of tone words you can use for all types of writing.

Integrating specific words into your writing can evoke particular feelings in the reader or audience. They’re key if you want to develop the ideal writing tone for your audience.  The good news is anyone can employ tone words and change the mood of their pieces easily.

What Are Tone Words?

List of tone words
Tone words are used by writers to express their attitudes or opinions about their topic

Writers use tone words to express their attitudes or opinions about their topic. These words may have positive, neutral, or negative connotations. Some words, like anger, happiness, or sadness, evoke specific emotions or tones when used in writing. We created a list of different tone words to help you convey your message or emotions in your writing.


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List of Positive Tone Words

Positive tone words express happiness, excitement, or other feelings with related emotions. Writers use them to add these emotions to their writing.

1. Interested

The man waited for any interested students to approach him before he shared some industry secrets.

2. Hopeful

That morning, the sun shone a hopeful yellow hue as the sky opened up for the first time in weeks.

3. Elated

Holt finally joined his family, elated to find them after a decade of searching.

4. Cheerful

How many shots have you had to be as cheerful as you are now?

5. Affable

Howard’s affable nature kept him the center of attention without causing bitterness in his colleagues.

6. Ebullient

Driven by his need to succeed, the ebullient Lee had to act more seriously at work.

7. Impassioned

Donny’s impassioned speech made people stop and listen to him for hours.

8. Exuberant

Anybody can see how much your dog loves you in the exuberant wagging of his tail.

9. Festive

Everybody wore white and gold or a combination of the two, making the occasion seem even more festive.

10. Whimsical

I enjoyed the whimsical attitude of the woodland fairies, but I still fear their moodiness.

11. Sympathetic

Tourists greatly appreciated the sympathetic and gentle characteristics of my people.

12. Serene

Until Oliver jumped in the water, its surface, inhabitants, and appearance had been so serene.

13. Virtuous

Jack’s virtuous beliefs led him to join many missionary trips in his younger years.

14. Optimistic

Everyone interviewed claimed that the victim had been the optimistic and trusting type.

15. Docile

The sociable and docile capybara makes a great pet if you want to domesticate a wild animal.

16. Merry

Melba’s merry holiday came to an official stop the minute she arrived at the front door.

17. Joyful

Hearing a newborn baby’s joyful laughter is a gift and a miracle.

18. Swell

My grandfather shared that all was swell and cheap in his time.

19. Loving

All people have no doubt dreamed of being held in a loving embrace.

20. Benevolent

There is one thing the main character lacks, and it’s a benevolent sidekick to balance out his cynicism.

21. Awestruck

The first time Elena saw a woman dressed in a wedding gown, she was awestruck.

List of Serious Tone Words

Serious tone words gives your writing or text more gravity. Some writers use them to let readers know how seriously they should understand or look at the text.

22. Cautious

The wild cat entered the clearing with a cautious attitude.

23. Critical

The detective kept replaying the tape of the accident on his computer with a critical eye.

24. Austere

You know I don’t like it when you dress like a woman with an austere background.

25. Efficient

Max loves Nelly for her highly efficient child-rearing techniques.

26. Stern

Amie would smile and joke around with you whenever appropriate, but she was also a stern teacher when the time called for it.

27. Pensive

Calvin is rarely pensive, but you could tell whenever he was because the constant chattering would turn quiet.

28. Business-like

Wilson felt embarrassed when Rowena told her children that he’d been very business-like on their first date.

29. Intense

You wouldn’t know Robin was a model if not for her intense fashion choices and perfect walk.

30. Grim

Surprisingly, the kids loved it when I told them about the grim and original story of The Little Mermaid.

List of Sad Tone Words

These tone words convey a feeling of sadness or other parallel emotions. Writers use them to tug at the heartstrings of their audiences.

31. Depressing

Starring in depressing movies like The Miracle in Cell No. 7 is why he wanted to try out his acting skills in happier roles.

32. Bleak

Do you know why Tomas keeps talking about the bleak midwinter?

33. Melancholy

I would’ve loved listening to your piano piece during a time of melancholy and isolation.

34. Resigned

Resigned, Rosie cleared the room of all her belongings and prepared to move again.

35. Dark

Zack’s dark take on the DC cinematic universe is unique and fitting.

36. Demoralized

One by one, the soldiers joined the march to their new destination, tired and demoralized.

37. Empty

Look closely at the woman’s seemingly empty eyes in the painting and tell me how you feel about them.

38. Gullible

I’m surprised how far she’s gotten in life despite her gullible nature.

39. Farcical

While the audience loved it, none of the critics enjoyed the movie’s farcical portrayal of Hollywood.

40. Dismal

Stop pushing everyone away before you regret living a lonely and dismal life.

41. Blue

They called this the blues music genre because it often portrayed states of being blue, upset, or depressed.

42. Crestfallen

You’re the birthday celebrant, but why do you look so crestfallen?

43. Remorseful

The council decided that Frankie’s remorseful speech was enough to earn a pardon.

44. Mournful

The youth kept a brave face until they heard the mournful cries of the ghostly women.

List of Humorous Tone Words

Humorous tone words portray a text’s funny aspect. Writers use them to add a lighter tone to their writing.

45. Hilarious

Watching the Hera character discuss her marriage with Persephone was hilarious.

46. Jocular

Manny’s youngest and most jocular child often played pranks on his other children.

47. Silly

The silly little elephant rolled in the mud to escape the heat.  

48. Satirical

Mayor Francesca enjoyed our satirical portrayal of her but lost her smile at the mention of her political scandals.

49. Playful

You don’t want a playful puppy like Jojo if you don’t have the time to play with him.

50. Laughable

Your laughable attempts at finding my secret stash would’ve worked if you knew me better.

51. Ridiculous

I laughed hard when I saw someone in a ridiculous dinosaur costume chase two unsuspecting kids down the street.

52. Blithe

Initially, we were put off by Fiona’s blithe attitude towards the CEO until we learned they were siblings.

53. Entertaining

How could you sit there and watch the whole show without thinking of it as entertaining?

54. Hysterical

The women in the cast fell into hysterical laughter when they found out about our next shoot site.

55. Amusing

Wendy found the children’s teasing amusing rather than irksome.

56. Comical

Jordan’s comical portrayal of Zeus had the whole class in stitches.

List of Aggressive Tone Words

Aggressive tone words can help you release or create tension in your texts. In writing literature, you can use them to show the audience how a character feels or thinks.

57. Vindictive

Nobody wanted to listen to Henry’s vindictive speeches anymore.

58. Acerbic

Is it normal for all teenagers to answer their parents with an acerbic tone?

59. Condescending

Wilhelm might not be the brightest among them, but he didn’t miss his father’s condescending words towards the help.

60. Pessimistic

How did sweet Valentina turn out to be such a pessimistic woman?

61. Despicable

The despicable woman kicked a homeless man’s poor dog and got away with it.

62. Churlish

Nobody enjoys Charlie’s company because of his attitude, except for churlish Chuck Harolds.

63. Morbid

Disneyland will never publicly acknowledge the morbid story of Deborah Stone anymore.

64. Hostile

For Gail, Brennan’s hostile actions, possessiveness, and irritability were immediate red flags.

65. Indignant

Belinda gave an indignant yelp when the cops cuffed her.

66. Biting

Gordon’s biting yet truthful criticisms may hurt, but they’re also helpful.

67. Malicious

The malicious woman pretended to be Kyle’s lover while he stayed incarcerated.

68. Volatile

The babbling brook turned into a volatile volcano overnight!

List of Neutral Tone Words

Neutral tone words don’t necessarily have a positive or negative attribution. However, their particular meanings can still elicit your readers’ feelings.

69. Ironic

The most ironic event I’ve seen was when the fire department’s main building burned down last year.

70. Reverent

The tribeswomen gathered around the stone, eyes cast down in humility and hands lifted in reverent awe.

71. Electric

Sheena will never forget the rock star’s electric touch.

72. Fearful

Teenagers and their insensitive pranking were the reasons behind Joanna’s fearful and cynical views of the new era.

73. Morbid

The morbid themes of the story fascinated the audience.

74. Macabre

Kathryn’s macabre drawings unsettled her medical doctors and the on-site psychiatrist.

75. Sedate

Boris would always know whenever Igor had taken drugs because he would talk and look with a sedate attitude.

76. Pragmatic

My pragmatic father hadn’t been the type to show us his loving side, but his protection said everything.

77. Grave

The man and woman looked at the sleeping boy and then at each other, grave realization dawning upon them.

78. Contemplative

George always reacted to external events easily, while his contemplative sister always took caution before taking any action.

79. Solemn

After the ceremony, everyone bowed their heads and whispered a solemn prayer.

80. Riotous

If it hadn’t been for those riotous teenagers, the rest of the student body would have enjoyed a working school elevator. If you want to make your writing fluid and easy to read, you need to organize your thoughts first. Here’s how to write an outline and create cohesive content.

Looking for more? You might be wondering what is a conversational tone.