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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Ruled by Intellect or Emotion? Tips on Word Choice #5

Be Happy
Be Happy (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?

For the next few weeks, I’ll be looking at something subjective: how to choose between emotional and intellectual words for effect.

In this series I’m looking at the difference between 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: Allow
Emotional: Let

Never allow your prejudice to blind you to the potential in others. (intellectual – a call to reason)
Don’t let the bastards grind you down. (emotional – a plea to the more basic instincts)

Intellectual: Discern
Emotional: See

Gervaise was convinced he could discern signs of fakery in the item on display. (intellectual – removed from emotional response)
‘I don’t know why you can’t see how upset I am!’ (emotional – a cry to the heart)

Intellectual: Pleased
Emotional: Happy

Peter was pleased when Jenny agreed to sign the contract. (intellectual – illustrating a professional relationship)

Jenny was so happy when Peter proposed to her. (emotional – of course!)
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