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Emotive Language

In this worksheet, students study the use of emotive language in writing and the effect it can have on the reader.

'Emotive Language' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:  Writing

Curriculum subtopic:  Be Aware of Audience/Purpose/Context in Own Writing

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

In this worksheet you will learn to recognise emotive language in writing and understand its effects. This is important for your analysis of non-fiction texts and for your own persuasive or argument writing.

Emotive language is used by writers to manipulate the emotions of the reader. For example they may use words to make the reader feel anger about an issue or to make them feel sympathy or guilt.  Emotive language can be used to manipulate a reader.

 

Read the options below and select the correct definition of emotive language;

Emotive language is used to describe emotions.

Emotive language is used to explain what a character's motive is.

Emotive language is used to manipulate a reader and make them feel certain emotions such as guilt, anger or sadness.

Emotive language is used to get an audience or reader to agree with your point of view.

Where might emotive language be used most successfully? Select from the answers below.

Recipes

Political persuasive speeches

Instructions

Newspaper articles

Newspaper headlines

Information leaflets

Charity leaflets

Advertising

Read this extract from a charity leaflet for the RSPCA. The leaflet is persuading people to donate to the charity to help animals. 

 

Poor, helpless Stanley was cruelly abandoned by his heartless owner and left cold and hungry tied to a fence. When we found him he was shivering, starving and scared...

 

Puppy with sad eyes

 

Select some of  the emotive words that have been used from the list below.

Poor

helpless

Stanley

cruelly

by

heartless

fence

abandoned

Select the most effective sentence from the options below:

This poor puppy was left by its owners.

This poor, helpless puppy was abandoned by its owners.

This poor, helpless puppy was cruelly abandoned by its heartless owners.

Now read this newspaper headline:

 

Pathetic player hits helpless referee.

 

Footballer kicking a ball

 

Which words are emotive in this headline?

pathetic

player

helpless

referee

Read the headline again:

 

Pathetic player hits helpless referee

 

Could you rewrite it so that sympathy is created for the player instead of the referee?

pathetic

player

helpless

referee

Can you think of some different emotive words that could be used instead of 'hits' in the headline?

 

Pathetic player hits helpless referee

 

Select the two most appropriate emotive alternatives from the list below:

slaps

taps

whacks

smacks

Read the phrases below thinking about emotive words that could be used to replace the words in bold. 

Ten villagers killed by soldiers.

Argument closes school.

Money shortage creates problems for banks.

 

Now match the phrase with the best alternative emotive word for the word in bold.

Column A

Column B

Ten villagers killed by soldiers
crisis
Argument closes school.
Dispute
Money shortage creates problems for banks.
massacred

Read the phrases below thinking about emotive words that could be used to replace the words in bold. 

Parents who hit their children have been jailed for life.

Royals are pleased ​at birth of new prince.

Sad holidaymakers stranded at airport.

 

Now match the phrase with the best alternative emotive word for the word in bold.

Column A

Column B

Parents who hit their children have been jailed fo...
abused
Royals are pleased ​at birth of new prince.
thrilled
Sad holidaymakers stranded at airport.
Devastated

Select the most effective sentence from the options below:

The child was left hungry and cold by her parents.

The helpless child was left starving and freezing by her unfeeling parents

The helpless child was left hungry and cold by her unfeeling parents.

  • Question 1

Emotive language is used by writers to manipulate the emotions of the reader. For example they may use words to make the reader feel anger about an issue or to make them feel sympathy or guilt.  Emotive language can be used to manipulate a reader.

 

Read the options below and select the correct definition of emotive language;

CORRECT ANSWER
Emotive language is used to manipulate a reader and make them feel certain emotions such as guilt, anger or sadness.
EDDIE SAYS
Emotive language is great for writing to persuade or argue, as it forces your reader to feel a strong emotion and they are therefore more likely to agree with you.
  • Question 2

Emotive language is used to get an audience or reader to agree with your point of view.

Where might emotive language be used most successfully? Select from the answers below.

CORRECT ANSWER
Political persuasive speeches
Newspaper articles
Newspaper headlines
Charity leaflets
Advertising
EDDIE SAYS
These texts are the ones where the purpose is mainly to try and persuade people.
  • Question 3

Read this extract from a charity leaflet for the RSPCA. The leaflet is persuading people to donate to the charity to help animals. 

 

Poor, helpless Stanley was cruelly abandoned by his heartless owner and left cold and hungry tied to a fence. When we found him he was shivering, starving and scared...

 

Puppy with sad eyes

 

Select some of  the emotive words that have been used from the list below.

CORRECT ANSWER
Poor
helpless
cruelly
heartless
abandoned
EDDIE SAYS
These emotive words show how badly the animal was treated and are going to make the reader feel sad and want to donate.
  • Question 4

Select the most effective sentence from the options below:

CORRECT ANSWER
This poor, helpless puppy was cruelly abandoned by its heartless owners.
EDDIE SAYS
The last sentence is the most effective as it uses lots of emotive language to emphasise the cruelty of the owners and the helplessness of the puppy.
  • Question 5

Now read this newspaper headline:

 

Pathetic player hits helpless referee.

 

Footballer kicking a ball

 

Which words are emotive in this headline?

CORRECT ANSWER
pathetic
helpless
EDDIE SAYS
'Pathetic' shows how unfairly the player acted and 'helpless' gives the best sense of how powerless the referee was and makes us feel sympathy for him.
  • Question 6

Read the headline again:

 

Pathetic player hits helpless referee

 

Could you rewrite it so that sympathy is created for the player instead of the referee?

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
By swapping the words around, you are able to make your reader feel like the referee was in the wrong instead of the player.
  • Question 7

Can you think of some different emotive words that could be used instead of 'hits' in the headline?

 

Pathetic player hits helpless referee

 

Select the two most appropriate emotive alternatives from the list below:

CORRECT ANSWER
whacks
smacks
EDDIE SAYS
'Whacks' and 'smacks' suggest a more explosive reaction and are much more brutal than 'hits', so it makes it seem like more of an attack.
  • Question 8

Read the phrases below thinking about emotive words that could be used to replace the words in bold. 

Ten villagers killed by soldiers.

Argument closes school.

Money shortage creates problems for banks.

 

Now match the phrase with the best alternative emotive word for the word in bold.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Ten villagers killed by soldiers
massacred
Argument closes school.
Dispute
Money shortage creates problems f...
crisis
EDDIE SAYS
These emotive words are much more effective.
'Massacred' sounds far more brutal than 'killed'.
'Dispute' makes it sound more of a legal problem and therefore more serious.
'Crisis' suggests a much more significant issue than 'problems'.
  • Question 9

Read the phrases below thinking about emotive words that could be used to replace the words in bold. 

Parents who hit their children have been jailed for life.

Royals are pleased ​at birth of new prince.

Sad holidaymakers stranded at airport.

 

Now match the phrase with the best alternative emotive word for the word in bold.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Parents who hit their children ha...
abused
Royals are pleased ​at birth of...
thrilled
Sad holidaymakers stranded at air...
Devastated
EDDIE SAYS
These emotive words are much more effective.
'Abused' sounds far more brutal than 'hit'.
'Thrilled' makes it sound more exciting and happy.
'Devastated' suggests the impact on the holidaymakers much more than 'sad'.
  • Question 10

Select the most effective sentence from the options below:

CORRECT ANSWER
The helpless child was left starving and freezing by her unfeeling parents
EDDIE SAYS
The second sentence is the most effective as it uses lots of emotive language to emphasise how awful the situation is and how vulnerable the child is.
---- OR ----

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