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The Research Essay or Term Paper

Tone of Voice

Your tone of voice in your argumentative essay need not be strident or inflammatory to make your point. Sometimes a "let's reason together" tone keeps the reader more sympathetic. Give the impression of someone who sees all sides of a complicated issue in an unprejudiced way. By seeing merit as well as weakness on both sides, you demonstrate that you are fair-minded. Avoid absolute or unconditional language. At times you must be firm and strong when you want to denounce an unmitigated injustice. At other times you should qualify (tone down) your remarks. For example, if you feel ambivalent about logging old-growth forest, instead of saying, "Logging of old-growth forest is always disastrous," you might say, "Logging of old-growth forest can be disastrous." This tone may be necessary if you are addressing a wide range of people, some of whom may espouse the opposite point-of-view.