Tips on Word Choice No. 25: Ruled by Intellect or Emotion?

English: Global climate change 2000-2009 and 1...
English: Global climate change 2000-2009 and 1950-1980/ Русский: Изменение средних температур за периоды 2000-2009 и 1950-1980. (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: Large

Emotional: Big

‘As the reigning Conservative party, we are able to fool a large portion of the electorate regardless of our appalling record of broken promises.’

‘There’s a big section of voters who are easily taken in by the lies of the major political parties.’

Intellectual: Learn

Emotional: Find Out

‘What are we to learn from the speed of our response to the situation in Ukraine?’

‘Do you think we’ll ever find out why the stupid buggers took so long to actually do something about the Ruskies invading Ukraine?’

Intellectual: Peril

Emotional: Danger

‘The evidence suggests that we will place the existence of the human race in peril should we ignore the evidence presented by climate scientists.’

‘Those bloody climate deniers have put us all in danger because they won’t believe the facts about global climate change.’

Intellectual: Worldwide

Emotional: In The World

‘There appears to be a worldwide conspiracy amongst Big Business to drive the population into a frenzy of needless consumption merely to support the excessive lifestyles of the super-rich.’

‘Nearly everyone in the world’s been fooled by the leaders of Big Business and their plan to make us all buy things we don’t need just to keep them rich and comfortable.’

This is the last in this particular series. But there will be more. And I will be posting more news, views and opinions over the coming months, now that i have more time for my writing again.

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