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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Ruled by Intellect or Emotion? Tips on Word Choice #12

English: So many words to keep track of!.
English: So many words to keep track of!. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Some 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 these few weeks, I’m looking at something subjective: how to choose between emotional and intellectual words for effect. You won’t always agree with me, 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 evoke 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: At An End
Emotional: Over

‘The tour of the museum is now at an end; we hope you have enjoyed your visit.’

‘It’s over. What else is there to say? We’re finished. Sorry.’

Intellectual: Demise
Emotional: Death

‘It is with great sorrow that I must announce the demise of our esteemed leader. He died in his sleep last night.’

‘God, that metaphor’s been done to death. Find a new one!’

Intellectual: I Regret
Emotional: I’m Sorry

‘I regret to inform you that your luggage has been sent in error to Helsinki. We will endeavour to have it returned to your airport of arrival at Wellington as soon as we are able. Have a nice stay.’


‘I’m sorry, but there’s no more left. You’ve had the lot.’
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