Ruled by Intellect or Emotion? Tips on Word Choice #13

English: Foreign secretary William Hague and C...
English: Foreign secretary William Hague and Chancellor George Osborne look on as U.S. President Barack Obama addresses Parliament on 25 May 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I began this series on my original blog at and I’m now starting the process of placing the same posts on both sites whilst I work out which is most useful for readers.

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: Completed

Emotional: Finished

The project was completed within three weeks, to the complete satisfaction of the client.

‘I tell you, John; I’m finished with you: completely finished!’

Intellectual: Facilitate

Emotional: Ease

‘As independent marketers, we facilitate the promotion and sales of your products, but only for a huge share of your profits.’

‘I can ease you into the right position,’ he said, lowering her to the bed.

Intellectual: Humorous, Amusing

Emotional: Funny

‘Your report on the economy was highly amusing, George. But the only responses you’ll receive will be either stark disbelief or downright condemnation.’

‘That, George, was bloody funny. Had me laughing, all the way to the bank.’

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