Difference Between Mood and Tone

Mood vs Tone

Tone and mood are the elements of a piece of writing, often distinguished to enable students of literature to grasp them easily. An author’s writing style is understood, only when a reader is able to appreciate the differences between the mood and the tone of the author. At times, there is no difference between the mood and tone in a composition while there is a drastic difference between the two linguistic tools or elements to confuse the student of literature. This article attempts to remove the doubts in the minds of the readers regarding mood and tone.


It is the feeling that is usually aroused in the reader of the composition. Thus, you know the mood if the piece makes you happy or sad. Settings inside the composition, the voice of the writer, and the theme often convey the mood of the writer to the reader. Mood is a result of author’s attitude or beliefs towards the subject. Mood is not restricted to literature alone and the feelings aroused in the minds of viewers while watching a movie are also considered to be the mood of the movie. Obviously you will find the mood to be happy when watching a comedy film while it will be sober if you are watching a serious film or a tragedy. Amused, jubilant, calm, loving etc. are some positive mood words whereas irate, anxious, irritated, apathetic etc are examples of negative mood.


Tone is referred to the attitude of the author of a composition towards the audience. It is the feelings the writer of the piece has towards the subject matter. He can be optimistic, sarcastic, affirmative, or even negative towards the subject. The author can appear to be full of disdain, or he can be respectful of the readers. The satirical or outraged author is clear from a piece of writing of the readers. The choice of words is often indicative of the tone of the writer. Thus, if you find the use of words like admiring, hilarious, affectionate, hopeful etc., you can be pretty sure that the tone of the writer is positive. On the other hand, the use of words such as hostile, acerbic, impatient etc. indicates a negative tone of the writer.

What is the difference between Mood and Tone?

• The feelings aroused in the minds of the readers or the audience of a movie is the mood of the composition of the movie.

• The tone of a composition is the attitude or the feelings the author has towards the subject matter.

• If you are feeling happy or sad after reading a piece, it is referred to as the mood of the composition.

• The tone is the attitude of the author who can be positive, optimistic, resentful, aggrieved, and so on.