Types Of Voice In Writing

What are the types of voice used in writing?

Expert Answers
kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator


According to Webster University, "voice" is the term used to describe the sound created by the writer and the perspective from which the piece is written. Voice exists in all types of writing, from novellas and plays to magazine articles and journalistic pieces. Generally, there are two types of voice that you need to be aware of:

  1. Author voice: this refers to the author's personal style of writing which is revealed to the reader through the particular words, phrases and punctuation that he or she uses. Because the author voice is so personal, it is also unique to each other. Oscar Wilde, for example, has a different author voice to Charles Dickens. For an example of author voice, take a look at the reference link provided.
  2. Character voice: in contrast to the author's voice, this style of voice involves putting the character's thoughts, feelings and beliefs at the forefront of the text. Like the author's voice, the character's voice can be recognized through the specific vocabulary and tone used by the character. For an example, see the reference link provided.

One final point to consider: narrative voice is another important aspect to consider. Voice will sometimes appear in the first-person (from the perspective of the person who is speaking) or, often, in the third-person in which a narrator is used to tell the story. 

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Voice is a term with several possible interpretations depending on what type of writing we are discussing. Essentially, this term helps us to describe the overall effect of a writer’s style and choice of sentence types (as these impact the reading experience).


In non-fiction (essays, journalism, etc.), voice will generally refer to tone of voice. Examples of tone of voice include academic/intellectual, casual/familiar, conversational, sarcastic/humorous, and reflective. Each of these types of voice can be tied to the writing’s purpose or intended effect.


In fiction, voice is often tied to style. If a writer uses brief, rapid sentences then she can be said to be have a clipped or staccato voice. There is overlap shared by voice in non-fiction and fiction, as we would see if a fiction writer used humor and sarcasm to create a humorous voice in a piece of fiction.


meganmjh | Student

It could be passive, or active.
It could be written in first person, second person, or third.
It could be a youth's voice, or a child, or an adult etc.

The type of language used differentiates writers and their status in society.

... hopefully that helps, even though you probably already knew that! :)