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Emotive Language
'Gorgeous-looking model in immaculate condition - test drive today!' The emotive words in this car advert are gorgeous and immaculate.

Emotive Language

Writers use emotive language in order to have a greater emotional impact on their audience. Words can evoke positive emotions, as in: 'Brave gran risks life to save emaciated orphan'. Or the goal can be more negative: 'Abandoned children found in filthy, flea-infested flat'. It's important both to be aware of the effect this language can have on you as a reader, and to be able to achieve the same effect in your own writing.

See how well you can spot emotive language by trying this quiz.

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1.
'Doctor escapes jail for botched surgery' - Which are the emotive words in this headline?
Doctor, jail
Doctor, botched
escapes, jail
escapes, botched
Using the word 'escapes' implies that the judgement is faulty and that the doctor should be in jail
2.
'If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood / Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs / Bitter as the cud / Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues' - Which are the emotive words used by Wilfred Owen in these lines from 'Dulce et Decorum Est'?
jolt, blood, lungs, cud, sores
gargling, froth-corrupted, lungs
hear, gargling, bitter, tongues
jolt, gargling, froth-corrupted, bitter, vile, incurable sores, innocent
3.
'How else dispose of an immortal force / No longer needed? / Staunch it at its source / With cinder loads dumped down? / The brook was thrown / Deep in a sewer dungeon under stone / In fetid darkness still to live and run' - Which are the emotive words used by Robert Frost in these lines from his poem, 'A Brook in the City'?
immortal, force, source, cinder, down, thrown, stone, live, run
dispose, immortal, staunch, dumped, thrown, sewer, dungeon, fetid
dispose, needed, cinder, down, dungeon, still, live, run
All of the words in these lines are examples of emotive language
4.
'Can you really abandon these puppies to life in such filthy kennels?' - Which are the emotive words in this appeal?
Can, abandon, kennels
you, really, abandon
really, puppies, filthy
abandon, puppies, filthy
Further emotive elements include the use of the rhetorical question and intensifiers such as 'really' and 'such'. 'Puppies' is emotive here, because the word has a stronger emotional pull than 'dog'
5.
'Our obesity-conquering cookbook is bursting with easy, fun recipes to try!' - Which are the emotive words in this blurb?
obesity, bursting, try
obesity-conquering, bursting, easy, fun
obesity-conquering, easy, recipes, try
bursting, recipes, try
6.
'Devious employee fleeces nursing home owner' - Which are the emotive words in this headline?
Devious, employee, owner
Devious, employee, home
Devious, fleeces
Employee, Employer
7.
'Make your wardrobe sparkle with our desirable new winter collection!' - Which are the emotive words in this advert?
Make, wardrobe, winter
wardrobe, desirable, collection
sparkle, winter, collection
sparkle, desirable, new
The implication is that your clothing is dull and out-of-date. This is one of the key purposes of advertisements and is more subtle than the purely emotive words
8.
'Thugs taunt victim after brutal mugging' - Which are the emotive words in this headline?
Thugs, victim
Thugs, mugging
Thugs, taunt, brutal
Thugs, taunt, victim, brutal, mugging
This is an extremely emotive headline - each of the words could be replaced with a neutral term
9.
'Weasels will live anywhere smelly / Inside a maggoty sheep carcase / Or a rotted tree-stump, / A crumbled wall crevice or a fish hole / In the riverbank. Their innocent babies / Nest tight at the back of the holes.' - Which are the emotive words used by John Tripp in these lines from his poem, 'Weasels'?
Weasels, live, inside, crumbled, crevice, hole
live, anywhere, fish, nest, holes
smelly, maggoty, rotted, carcase, innocent, babies, nest, tight
innocent, babies, nest, tight
This poem presents a beautiful contrast between our unpleasant emotions associated with weasels and with the reality of weasels as animals which nurture their young
10.
'Gorgeous-looking model in immaculate condition - test drive today!' - Which are the emotive words in this car advert?
Gorgeous-looking, model
Gorgeous, immaculate
model, condition, test
immaculate, test, today
Author:  Sheri Smith

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