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

Tips on Word Choice No.23: Ruled by Intellect or Emotion?

just before the one mile marker

just before the one mile marker (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: Donate

Emotional: Give

‘There is an opportunity to donate funds to a worthwhile cause on my blog. Please consider making a donation to support my half marathon and raise money for ME/CFS through this link. Thank you.’

‘Go on, give us some dosh for Action For M.E. It’s a good cause, mate. Just text MESA76 to give £5 by text to 70070. Ta, ever so.’

Intellectual: Fortunate

Emotional: Lucky

‘I have reason to believe I have been very fortunate in recovering from ME/CFS after suffering the condition for nearly ten years.’

‘Talk about lucky: fancy getting over chronic fatigue after ten years, eh?’

Intellectual: Must

Emotional: Has To

‘In putting myself forward to run the half marathon at the Great North Run, I have placed myself in a position where I must train seriously if I am to satisfy the wishes of my sponsors.’

‘Anyone daft enough to run a half marathon for charity just has to do the training; it’s be madness not to, wouldn’t it?


My almost apologies for playing this card in this post, but I’ve allowed emotion to overcome intellect in this case. The cause is dear to my heart and I feel I must use every opportunity to raise both awareness and funds for a cause that helped me in a time of need.

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