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Connotation vs. Denotation. Objective : Explain the difference between connotation and denotation. Pay attention to authors ’ word choice and determine the connotation of words in text. Connotation vs. Denotation. Denotation – the literal dictionary definition of a word

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Connotation vs. Denotation


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  1. Connotation vs. Denotation • Objective: Explain the difference between connotation and denotation. Pay attention to authors’ word choice and determine the connotation of words in text.

  2. Connotation vs. Denotation • Denotation – the literal dictionary definition of a word • Connotation – The secondary meaning, associated feelings, or images a word evokes in the reader • Synonym - A word with the same or almost the same meaning as another word • Context - the words or sentences that surround a word and may help you figure out both its denotation and connotation

  3. Examples • House – implies a building • Home – implies a place of warmth and family

  4. Example • Chair – implies a place to sit. • Recliner – implies a cozy/comfortable place to sit

  5. Shades of Meaning • The shoes in the store display are inexpensive. • The shoes in the store display are cheap. • The shoes in the store display are reasonable. Cheap and reasonable have a denotation similar to inexpensive, but have shades of meaning that may be less familiar. Negative Neutral Positive ____________________________________________________

  6. Word Choice When writing, choose words carefully, noting their connotations. Words with the same meanings may have a wide range of positive, neutral, or negative feelings. The example shows several synonyms for proud, each with its own connotations – some positive, some negative.

  7. Word Choice Positive: No self-respecting person would commit plagiarism. Positive: My family was pleased with my accomplishments. Negative: He is so conceited he’s always admiring himself in a mirror. Negative: She is haughty and aloof and never deigns to speak to others. Negative Neutral Positive ____________________________________________________

  8. Childish vs. Childlike • Connotation? • Denotation? (Look up in dictionary) • Positive – Negative – Neutral? • Connotation? • Denotation? (Look up in dictionary) • Positive – Negative – Neutral?

  9. Does connotation matter? Connotation is the emotional connection we add to our words! • Imagine you are going on a first date with someone, and they ask you in to meet their mom. Would it make a difference to you if they asked you to come in to meet their mommy instead? What about if they wanted you to meet mama? How about meeting their mother? Or, to top it off, what if they asked if you would like to meet their female progenitor?

  10. Who cares about connotation? • Authors often select their words carefully so that they can convey a certain mood/tone with their writing.

  11. Context What context clues help you figure out the connotations of the underlined words? Boasting loudly, the victorious players strutted into the locker room. Silently, the losing players trudged into the locker room.

  12. Word Choice In your own writing, you should aim to use just the right word, with connotations that best express your meaning.