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Part I: Strategies for Writing Proposals... > Choosing an Appropriate Tone

Chapter 5. Choosing an Appropriate Tone

Have you heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it that’s important?” Not only is this true for speakers, it is also true for writers. The tone of your message tells the reader a lot about you. For example, following are some subtle indicators that help establish your tone, for better or worse:

Condescending statements: Don’t talk down to your reader. Writers sometimes do this because they have unintentionally chosen words that convey a condescending tone. For example, the words “of course” or “as you probably know” can convey “as any idiot knows.”


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