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Tone vs. Mood: Useful Differences between Mood vs. Tone


Tone vs. mood! Both the tone and the mood are elements that are used by authors in literary works. When you understand the tone and the mood of the text that you’re reading, it’s a lot easier for you to understand the purpose and the theme of it, as well as to appreciate the style and the work of the author. However, not everyone realizes that these two terms mean two very different things, even though they often go together. In order to feel more confident when discussing literature, read on to see the difference between the tone and the mood.

Tone vs. Mood

The TONE is the feeling or the atmosphere that the author has set in his story, while the MOOD is the feeling or the atmosphere that the reader gets when he is reading the story.

The tone depends on what the author himself feels towards the setting or the character, and what he wants us to feel. For example, when the author writes, “James didn’t want to go into that dark room and preferred to stay where he was”, he means that James was very scared. Or, the sentence “The sun was shining so bright that Margaret wanted to run around the garden singing all day long” suggests that Margaret was feeling excited or happy.

On the contrary, the mood depends on what the reader feels. The mood is usually created at the beginning of the story, so the reader can expect what will happen later on. For instance, the writer might say that the night was dark and moonless. Even though nothing is said about anyone feeling scared, this is probably the emotion that the reader will perceive. A different author might start his story describing a cruel man shouting and hitting his son. This will give the readers the feeling of anger towards the man, and pity towards his son.

To sum up, you can understand the tone of a text when you look at the words that the writer has used. On the other hand, the mood that a text creates has to do with what you as a reader feel when you read what the author has written.

Tone vs. Mood Words Examples

Examples of Tone Words:

  • He was very cautious about committing himself to anything.
  • He was quite humorous, and I liked that about him.
  • The prisoners who escaped are violent and dangerous.
  • She got what she wanted by dint of pleading and threatening.

Examples of Mood Words:

  • I am hopeful that she will come tomorrow.
  • He couldn’t get to sleep because he was too excited.
  • Small children are often very trustful.
  • He had three pretty, vivacious daughters.

What’s the Difference between Mood vs. Tone? | Picture

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Tone vs. Mood: Difference between Tone vs. Mood

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