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Tone of Writing

Completion requirements

Tone refers to the attitude the writer conveys. In writing the tone can only be conveyed by words and sentences and not body language as in oral communication. Business writers aim for a pleasant, friendly, neutral tone. Create a pleasant atmosphere by:

  • Using words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.
  • Emphasise positive aspects e.g. substitute the sentence “We don’t deliver on Mondays and Fridays” with “We deliver on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.”
  • Focus on the reader and his or her interests e.g. “For your convenience, I enclose a brochure with our products.”
  • Avoid using sexist language e.g. air hostess = flight attendant, chairman = chairperson, workman = worker.
  • Avoid any kind of bias or stereotyping e.g. “He will be a bad performer because he smokes” or “He will not be a good manager because he is short.”
  • Avoid using a cold, distant tone. Compare “Our company policy does not allow for refunds” with “Thank you very much for buying at Supra, we regret that we cannot refund your purchase but will gladly exchange it for you.”