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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Ruled by Intellect or Emotion? #Tips on Word Choice #2

English: a fan made portret
English: a fan made portret (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Certain words/phrases can induce fairly specific responses in readers. As writers, we all know this, 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: Accolade  – suggestive of a certificate, honour, etc.
Emotional: Applause – more suggestive of active praise and enthusiasm.

Sir Henry accepted the accolade for his report with quiet enthusiasm and went back to work. (cold, intellectual)

The stand-up comedian embraced the applause like a long lost friend, working the crowd to garner more and more. (active, warm,)

Intellectual: Damage, harm                 
Emotional: Hurt

The damage done to the mechanism was so severe it was beyond repair. (impersonal, factual)

Sandie closed her eyes in pain, the hurt she felt from his betrayal so profound she couldn’t bear to look at him. (sorrowful, moving)

Intellectual: Manufacture                   
Emotional: Make

They set out to manufacture the most profitable goods they could foist on the gullible and ill-educated consumers. (cold, calculated)


I want to make something that has real value to society, something that will do some real good. (inspiring, heartfelt)
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