Books, writing, reading and words. I love them; do you?

Tips on Word Choice: Ruled by Intellect or Emotion? No18

Rich symbol

Rich symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Certain 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: Fearful

Emotional: Afraid

‘Many people, even those who show courage in other ways, are fearful of expressing a sincere opinion about the activities of those who have extreme religious views.’

‘I’m not afraid of those idiots who believe their version of God is the only one. I’m willing to let them know how stupid they are.’

Intellectual: Inform

Emotional: Tell

‘We must inform you that you have exceeded your authority in the fulfilment of your duties and you will therefore be eliminated.’

‘When I tell you what I just heard, you’ll never believe it.’

Intellectual: Wealthy

Emotional: Rich

‘It has been calculated that 85 wealthy people own more assets than half the population of the world. Such inequality must surely result in serious consequences for those too greedy to share their good fortune.’

‘Rich people never understand that they got that way because of the efforts of hundreds or thousands of other people who did all the support work that allowed them to do it.’

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