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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Ruled by Intellect or Emotion? Tips on Word Choice #8

The Houses of Parliament are situated within t...
The Houses of Parliament are situated within the Palace of Westminster, in London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are words/phrases that 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. You won’t always agree with my interpretation, of course; you’re writers. But, hopefully, my suggestions will get the thought processes going.

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: Anticipate
Emotional: Expect

The major political parties all anticipate a landslide in the General Election, as the majority of people never actually give much thought to their choice of candidate but vote on an emotional rather than an intellectual basis.

I expect most voters will do their usual thing and either fail to make their mark or do so on the ignorant say so of some friend or partner.

Intellectual: Concerned
Emotional: Worried

Many parents are concerned about the nature of the world in which their children will have to live.

I’m worried my daughter will inherit a very uncomfortable world because of the selfish attitudes of my own generation.

Intellectual: Futile
Emotional: Hopeless

To oppose the status quo is a futile exercise bound to result in disappointment for the protesters.


No matter how hopeless our cause appears, we must fight for it for as long as we’re able.
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