10 Things I Used To Hate About English
Emotive Language made simple
What is Emotive Language?
something is emotive it makes people emotional. If you have just had your
new bike stolen then your friends might avoid boasting about their bikes:
bikes are an emotive subject for you at the moment.
often choose emotive language (words) to get their readers to react
emotionally to a story. If you call an event a 'riot' rather than a 'disturbance' you are much more likely to get your readers excited.
How to read Emotive Language
use of emotive language in academic writing can obscure the message, and
is no substitute for facts. As readers, it is necessary to separate the
fact from the emotion. As writers, take care that emotion does not distort
the factual/analytical aspects. (Some personal comment is permissible in
conclusions - but take care!) Emotive
language reflects the opinion of the writer (for/against).
journals, research that supports the writer may be described as elegant,
sophisticated or excellent whereas research in opposition may be described
as: sloppy, haphazard or ill conceived.
when you read on, there is a 'but' or 'however', what follows may help to
redress the balance. As a reader, check that the use of emotional language
is not covering inadequate facts or illogical or weak argument. These are
value-judgements by writers, not facts.
are a few hints to help you practice recognising emotive language:
you read any article, it's a good trick to see if you can imagine what it
might be like if written by someone who held different views. How could a
writer use language to try to sway your emotions so that you come to a
different conclusion? Listen to politicians, too! They often use a lot of
emotive language to persuade people to agree with their ideas.
Emotive Language use in reporting
mass media news to fulfill its purpose as a meaningful source of
information, it must be accessible to a wide proportion of the population.
role of emotive or dramatic language in the news is a subtle one –
though the story itself may not be dramatised, it may be possible to
inject emotive, attention getting language into a story to “liven it
up”. This would have
benefits in terms of engaging the audiences’ attention and understanding. The criticism of this is that emotive language takes away
from the facts of a story and places an interpretative or dramatic angle
on the facts, thus skewing the viewers’ perception of events via their
emotions. Many items, such as
disasters, crime, and so on, do contain emotive content.
To remove that content would also be to skew the perception of the
realities in the stories.
loading the news items with emotive language, some values are
automatically implied on each item, limiting the ways in which it can be
Language is defined as language used by the journalist reporting the story
that describes elements of the issue or situation in an emotive manner,
particularly language that dramatises or places extreme meanings on the
items in which it is used. The
words used in such language should be recognisable as those words designed
to elicit an emotional reaction from the
are some examples of emotive language used in newspapers
(The part in brackets is the simple english):
1. Scabs thrown out of the union
(Strike breakers must
2. School blaze
(Fire at school)
5. Pensioner hit by muggers
(Old man hit by robbers)
6. A hundred peasants slaughtered by troops
(A hundred peasants killed by troops)
leaves factory gutted
(Argument closes factory)
8. Train seats mauled by youths
(Train seats cut by
9. Real Estate prices plummet throughout the
(House prices fall
Money deficits result in havoc in schools
(Shortage of money creates
problems in schools)
Player lashes out at umpire
(Player hits referee)
Political gathering results in riot
(Political meeting ends in disturbance)
is useful to sell products, sell political candidates and ideas, make
announcements, and so on persuasion. Ads often exaggerate, mislead and
even lie. The psychology of ads is that they play on our fears, desires,
prejudices and weaknesses. No expense is spared, and weasel words (fights
are two basic kinds of ads: those that give reasons, and those that do
not. All ads are guilty of suppressed evidence; that is, they never give
you sufficient information about a product. Ads will never tell you what
is wrong with the product (for example, the commonly experienced
mechanical problems of a particular model car). Ads give weak promises
(your clothes will be "brighter" if you use a particular soap),
use vague comparisons (good, better, best), and make illegitimate appeals
to the authority of the crowd (most people use the product) or to the
authority of a particular individual (Jonty Rhodes for cricket bats). Ads
that provide reasons, promise ads, submit reasons for buying the product.
They tell us more than that the product exists, but not much more. Usually
the promises are vague.
writing intended to cause intense feelings of horror, curiosity, shock,
disgust etc. by making events seem more shocking, vivid, exciting or
horrifying than in reality.
Newspapers or magazines whose style is of the sensational format, designed
to appeal to mass readership e.g. Sunday
Times, You, People.
How to analyse a headline
So what do you want: rhetorical question (no answer)
and manure or
Good and bad or in the middle