The Emotional Climate of Words
Be conscious of the connotations of the words you use. As a writer, you must be careful to choose words with the exact shade of meaning you need to set the tone you wish to convey.
Would you rather have a cheap blouse or an inexpensive blouse?
Would you rather be called ancient or mature?
Would you rather own a mutt or a dog?
Words carry an emotional climate. The literal meaning of a word is called its denotation. The meaning that a word suggests is its connotation.
Connotations may be national, linguistic, racial or a universal attitude held by most people. (Of course, others could not understand a purely private family joke.)
Identify the emotional implications in each of the examples below:
King: autocrat, dictator, tyrant, ruler, leader
Fat: obese, plump, corpulent, burly, full-figured, roly-poly, portly, stout
Funny: silly, comic, joking, facetious, hilarious, humorous, slapstick
Note the difference between these two sentences:
* The drifter sat on the park bench.
* The bum slouched on the park bench.
Heres an exercise for you to try. Fill in the blanks of the sentences below using words with a different connotation to achieve a particular mood:
The house sat on a hill above the city below.
The children found the puppy in the park.
After the social event, the parent reprimanded the child.