Emotive language is language that is used to evoke an emotional response from the reader. It can be used to create a sense of urgency, excitement, or even fear. 

When used effectively, emotive language can help you connect with your audience on a deeper level and persuade them to take action.

There are a number of ways to use emotive language in your writing. Here are a few tips:

Use strong verbs

Transform your readability by using strong verbs. Verbs are the action words in your sentences, and they can be a powerful way to evoke emotion. Instead of using weak verbs like "is" or "was," choose verbs that are more descriptive and impactful. For example, instead of saying "The dog was happy," you could say "The dog wagged its tail excitedly."

Even better, consider strong words over using too many adverbs. Adverbs are fine when used judiciously, but when overused they can slow down your sentences. And we want to make an impact. Find out more about the Readable adverb detector

Use sensory language

Paint a luscious picture for your reader. Sensory language appeals to the reader's five senses. When you use sensory language, you help the reader to experience the story or argument in a more vivid way. For example, instead of saying "The food was delicious," you could say "The smell of the freshly baked bread made my mouth water.

You could even mix the sentences for a literary effect - get inspired by Nabokov to use this creative technique.

Use figurative language

Get creative with your words. Figurative language is language that is not meant to be taken literally. It can be used to add colour, interest, and emotion to your writing. There are many different types of figurative language, including metaphors, similes, personification, and hyperbole.

Figurative language is easily taken for granted because we use it every day. Be conscious of it in your writing to get you out of autopilot and focus your intent. 

Ask questions even if you don’t want them answered

Use rhetorical questions. Rhetorical questions are questions that are not meant to be answered. They are used to engage the reader and make them think about the topic at hand. For example, you could ask "What would you do if you were in my shoes?" By doing this, you’re also writing in the second person, which is a powerful technique to connect with your audience. Learn how to use it effectively.

Address your reader

Use personal pronouns. Personal pronouns like ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’ and ‘they’ can help you to connect with your audience on a more personal level. When you use personal pronouns, you are inviting the reader to share your experience.

As above, using various personal pronouns have different effects. Using ‘we’ is best used when avoiding passive voice. For example, ‘mistakes were made’ becomes ‘we made a mistake’. Doing this inspires trust because it shows you can take accountability.

Just watch out for it in other contexts. Overusing the pronoun ‘we’ can sound slightly distant. Use the above tips on the ‘you’ pronoun to bring your audience closer. You can also see how the Readable tone slider helps you really hit that personal tone.

It is important to use emotive language sparingly. Too much emotive language can be overwhelming and off-putting. When used effectively, however, emotive language can be a powerful tool for enticing your audience and adding colour to your writing. It can also greatly humanise your writing in an increasingly AI-generated landscape, making it stand out.

Dave Child

Dave is the founder of Readable and has been building websites since the early 90s. He’s one of those fortunate people who gets to do what he loves for a living.