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

Tips on Word Choice No.19: Ruled by Intellect or Emotion?

English: A complete diagram of the human skin.

English: A complete diagram of the human skin. (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: Container

Emotional: Bag, Jar, Bottle

‘Take care when opening the container in case any of the caustic content we included damages your vulnerable skin, causing you to sue us for failing to consider your safety.’

‘Can you open this jar for me? The lid’s so tight I can’t get it open.’

Intellectual: Dine

Emotional: Eat

‘We will dine at eight and the ceremony will commence as soon as after dinner coffee is served.’

‘If I don’t eat something in a second, I’m going to die of starvation!’

Intellectual: Fidelity

Emotional: Faithfulness

‘Fidelity is an intrinsic quality of the marriage contract, regardless of gender and sexual orientation.’

‘One of the real signs of love in our relationship is our continued and mutual faithfulness.’

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