Voice in Writing: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:04 What is Voice in Writing?
  • 1:06 Examples of Using…
  • 3:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Patricia Vineski

Patricia has an MFA in Writing, an MS in Teaching and English Language Arts, and a BA in English.

In this lesson, you'll learn what voice is in writing and how it can be used to make your writing unique. Take a look at some examples and then test your knowledge with a quiz.

What Is Voice in Writing?

We all have a personality that is unique to who we are. Some of us might be perfectionists, driven to the best at whatever we do. Some of us might be more focused on making a difference, volunteering time to charities and being active in advocating for change. Some of us might be more focused on making a stable life for ourselves and our families. Whatever our personalities - ambitious, caring, passionate, stable, and everything in between - they are unique to how we see ourselves and the world around us. And when we interact with that world, we do so in ways that are unmistakably ours and ours alone.

In writing, voice can be expressed when a writer puts him or herself 'into' the words, providing a sense that a real person is speaking and cares about the message. When a writer is engaged personally with the topic, they impart a personality to the piece that is unmistakably theirs alone. And it is that individual personality, different from the personalities of all other writers, that we call voice. Voice is the distinct personality of a piece of writing.

Examples of Using Voice in Writing

If you want your writing to reflect your individual personality, you have to make different choices than other writers, choices that reflect who you are inside; your original thoughts and personal feelings as well as your particular way of seeing things and interpreting them.

One way to do this is to communicate strong feelings. Notice how the writer of the following excerpt from the wiki 'Whoopsi' begins with a capitalization of the subject and an exclamation mark, then goes on to repeat the word 'toilets,' as well as other words like 'scrubbed.' The writer also uses different forms of words like 'stinky' and 'stink,' 'hardest' and 'hard,' all of which convey just how strongly she feels about scrubbing toilets.

Toilets! When you're scrubbing toilets make sure they are not stinky. I've scrubbed one before and I was lucky it didn't stink. I think toilets are one of the hardest things to scrub in the bathroom because it is hard to get up around the rim.

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