Connotation is not a new term. For centuries the sculptors of literature have associated a word in a different sense from what it actually means; nouns sound like verbs; simple colors do not just signify colors but moods and shades of character. It is often learned that specific things have a good or bad connotation, but how can a person know about it? Then, what is a connotation? Let's understand its meaning and significance and see some examples. Hopefully, by the end of this reading, any reader can recognize a connotation just by scanning a sentence.
What Are Connotation And Denotation?
Simply put, the connotation is the projection of a word in a completely different sense from what it means. For example, grey is a color, but it is also used to indicate the darker features of the human character. For example – the morally grey characters add a new edge to the story. Connotations can be in various forms – positive, negative, or neutral. Multiple layers of meaning can be added to a sentence, word, or passage through connotation. Now students can ask – “what is the example of connotation?" How can one distinguish between a negative and neutral connotation? The process is quite simple; one must look at the sentences. Look at the two sentences below and analyze their difference.
Sentence 1: The cat is thin.
Sentence 2: The cat is emaciated.
While the first sentence signifies a statement and a fact, the second highlights the owner's negligence. Therefore, it is clear that the first sentence is neutral while the second sentence is negative.
However, it would have been completely different if the two sentences had denoted something. The words would have meant what they stated; there would be no hidden meaning.
Difference Between Denotation And Connotation
How would students find the difference if they had to write assignments on connotation and denotation? Let's find out through this table:
|Basis of difference||Connotation||Denotation|
|What does it mean?||A suggested meaning of different emotions from what the word exactly means||Definition of the exact meaning of the term that is available in dictionaries|
|What is it?||Suggested meaning||Literal meaning|
|What does it indicate?||The implications of the word concerning the culture, social or emotional suggestion||The words that are explicitly said|
|What does it determine?||The intention of the author||The extension of the word or sentence|
|When do writers use it?||When the author tries to indicate something which is not worded in the text||When the writer wants to mean something word for word|
What Is The Significance Of Using Connotation In Writing?
Words are the tools authors play with to create a passage, story, or scene. Connotations add weight and tone to the words so that when used individually or in groups, they add value to the sentences. Connotations also help to:
- Build multidimensional content: When writers want to add imagery to the text, they use connotation. For example, saying he runs like a horse helps a reader imagine the speed at which a character can run rather than saying he runs with a great pace.
- Build characters: Stories are descriptions. The more vivid they are, the better a reader can visualize them. Using connotation helps to imagine a character better. It, when used positively, makes a character more likable. Anyone who has read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie can understand the underlying meaning of the term "professional man" that Dr. James Shepherd, the story's narrator, uses to describe himself – an ideal truthteller.
- Squeeze the emotion from the word: Connotations can bring out the inner emotion of a comment. Reading the Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, it can be easily understood that Dorothy's obsession with home is not just related to the place where she lives but to the concept of home – comfort, love, family, and support. When the character repeatedly says, "There is no place like home", it does not take a reader more than a second to understand that Dorothy is excited to return to her home.
What Are Denotation And Connotation Examples?
Exemplifying connotation and denotation is quite easy – one has to understand the sentence according to its reference to the sentence or passage. For example, if one considers two words – aroma and stench. The stench would indicate a bad odor if used per its literal meaning, while the aroma would suggest a good smell. However, these words can be connoted. While aroma represents a positive connotation, stench represents a smell in negative.
Similarly, the terms cheap and thrifty have different connotations. Cheap, when connoted, always infers a negative meaning though it denotes low price. Again, thrifty also tells the same, but when connoted, it indicates an individual's carefulness with handling cash.
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