Mood and Tone

MOOD refers to the atmosphere (or feelings) created in a passage of writing. Words that might describe the “Mood” of the passage are: threatening, restful, nostalgic, peaceful, chaotic, joyful or jubilant, sad or melancholic…etc.

TONE refers to the attitude of the writer (in our case, the narrator) towards what is happening in the passage. Words that might describe the “Tone” of the passage are: humorous, angry, witty, direct, positive, sensitive, nervous or hesitant, questioning, unconcerned…etc.

Here is a site that lists a number of words to describe MOOD and TONE:


It is important to understand, that the MOOD (atmosphere created) and TONE of the passage (the attitude of the writer towards what is happening) are created through:

  1. The word choice
  2. The language techniques used (I have posted a handout as a quick reference for language techniques)
  3. The sentence structure/syntax

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