This blog has moved. Please go over to this link to see my new website.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Ruled by Intellect or Emotion? Tips on Word Choice #1

Portrait of an Elderly Man
Portrait of an Elderly Man (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Certain words/phrases can induce fairly specific responses in readers. We all know this, of course, but do we use the power of emotion in our work?

I’m setting out here to suggest a few alternatives. In this series I’ll look at the difference between those words that seem intellectual as opposed to those that invoke a more emotional response. How you use them is obviously up to you. The point is that the alternatives have the same, or very similar, meanings, but their effect upon the reader can be markedly different. I’ve made some suggestions here, but I’m sure you can think of others.

Intellectual: Accelerate – suggestive of motor functions, science and sport.
Emotional: Speed up – more suggestive of heartbeat, bodily movement.

James steered the Bentley round the bend, accelerating hard as he made for the junction. (thriller/journalistic language)
‘If you’re going to get me there before I cool down, you’d better speed up, darling.’ (romantic/erotic language).

Intellectual: Challenge – generally seen as tough and demanding.
Emotional: Dare – more likely to be used in fun.

Shane saw the waiting gang as just another challenge on his way to his intended goal. (thriller language)
Tracy looked at the waves breaking gently under the crescent moon and wondered whether she dare join Mike in the water. (romantic language)

Intellectual: Elderly – suggestive of respect and even deference.                              
Emotional: Old – more likely to be used casually, perhaps even insultingly.

A wide range of facilities for the elderly is provided by the local council. (formal/journalistic language)

‘There goes old George, late for his appointment again.’ (informal/fiction language)

No comments: