Tips on Word Choice: Ruled by Intellect or Emotion? No.16

Sbbtm smile
Sbbtm smile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sorry about the delay, this should have been posted Tuesday, but I was somewhat occupied.

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: Beneficial

Emotional: Good For

Voting for the Green Party will be beneficial for your pocket as well as for the planet.

Try on a smile; it’s good for you.

Intellectual: Experiment

Emotional: Test

‘Our experiment in convincing voters that they should continue to support the wealthy and powerful continues to go well. Of course, keeping the silly buggers ignorant and ill-educated has more or less ensured our success in this venture.’

‘Great to see you here. Let me introduce you. This is George, Anna, Fred, who has a crush on all girls, Sarah, Jenny, who’ll do more or less whatever you want, Alf, Georgina, Mary, Peter and Penny; there will be a test later.’

Intellectual: Sufficient

Emotional: Enough

‘We believe there is sufficient evidence to support the majority view that global climate change will become an unstoppable phenomenon unless the political leaders act immediately.’

‘That’s enough! I’m not going to tell you again. If you don’t stop, I’ll smack you!’

2 thoughts on “Tips on Word Choice: Ruled by Intellect or Emotion? No.16

  1. Charles Lominec

    This is good stuff, thanks for sharing. It’s important to understand the differences in how our characters communicate.


    1. Word choice can make subtle but important differences to the reading experience, and anything we can do as writers to guide our readers is a plus, I think. I’ve been running this particular series on my old blog for a few weeks and decided to migrate it here, as I’m intending to develop this website/blog for the future. Thanks for your comment, Charles.

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