Ruled by Intellect or Emotion? Tips on Word Choice #14

English: US derivatives and US wealth compared...
English: US derivatives and US wealth compared to total world wealth 1995-2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This series started on my other blog.  If you want to see the earlier examples, please visit and search the archive.

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: Construct

Emotional: Build

‘It is our intention to construct the largest and most all-encompassing complex for retail business that we are able to, without having to employ too much in political bribes.’

‘We’re going to build more and more houses on brown field sites, mostly as starter homes.’

Intellectual: Diminutive

Emotional: Small

‘I fear that Lucy is too diminutive to be taken seriously by those who really matter in terms of power.’

‘Lucy’s so small and charming, she’s bound to win their hearts.’

Intellectual: Perhaps

Emotional: Maybe

‘Decreasing the wealth gap is, perhaps, beneficial to society as a whole, but it would render the rich less powerful and must therefore be avoided.’

‘Maybe the best way to bring a bit more equality to society is to look at what would happen if certain jobs weren’t done.’

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