Answered By: James Whitmer
Last Updated: Jun 05, 2020     Views: 61

Connotation and denotation are both related to diction, or word choice. They are both important considerations for choosing words because they represent two kinds of accuracy: emotional and literal.

Connotation is the emotional meaning of a word, or at least the emotional associations it carries within a particular culture. Though two words could have similar literal meanings, they could have drastically different impacts on what a sentence means to a reader. For example, consider the sentences, "That man is upset" vs. "That man is hysterical." Though those two words can both mean that he is feeling emotional, they paint very different pictures of him due to the audience's existing emotional associations with those words. Therefore, before choosing a word, take care to consider how positively or negatively it may affect the perception of whom or what you are discussing.

In turn, denotation refers to the literal, dictionary definition of a word. In this case, you just want to ensure that one of the word's commonly accepted definitions fits what you are trying to say. That is why whenever you are in doubt of a word's meaning or use a thesaurus or spell check, you should always verify that the word you choose can be used in your sentence and still make sense to the reader. For example, the sentences, "We accepted her" vs. "We excepted her" mean two very different things due to the different dictionary definitions of those words.