The Neutrality of Neutral Connotations

The Neutrality of Neutral Connotations


You may be one of those people who have an eye for details that even the most subtle of details can barely escape your grasp. Maybe you have noticed things in literary works like connotations as well. If so then you are aware that connotations are those words that describe something, someone, or someplace, and the way those words are used can imply multiple interpretations; less the author or speaker would follow up on what they mean by what is read or heard. So if you’re familiar with connotations then you would also know that there are usually positive and negative types of connotations.

Positive connotations are those descriptive words that put the subject in a positive light and make them seem that they have a quality about them that is to be desired. Negative connotations are of course the opposite of the positive ones; so they basically ridicule, tease, or put the subject in a negative light and point out a quality that they have that is something that is generally unwanted. But there is a third kind of connotation and it is one that is between the positive and the negative types of connotations: It is called the neutral connotation. Neutral connotations are those descriptive words that don’t have positive or negative implication;  basically devoid of most emotions or the author or speaker has no strong attachment to those words.

While positivity and negativity in words are mostly what people would consider connotations due to the emotions or the associations connected to the words that were used, neutral connotations are actually quite often used in most literary works or in examples of speech but they are however tricky to notice since it is like they are hiding in plain sight due to how common it is being used all the time. We, humans, have adapted to using neutral connotations without ever noticing it all this time.

Examples of Neutral Connotation And Comparisons

  • Timid – this term would refer to a person who is somewhat nervous and shy to a fault. A positive version of this connotation would have to be prudent which means that they are someone who prefers to avoid taking risks and is careful enough so they don’t cause any problems for themselves and or those around them. The negative version of this would have to be cowardly which implies that they are too scared to even consider taking risks which means that they will always be too cautious for their own good.
  • old – this would refer to the person or thing or even place being of old age which would most likely be something that is in fact factual. A negative version of this would have to be if they stated that the subject is out-of-date or obsolete which implies that it is far too old for its own good and that the subject will need to be disposed of or taken care of soon so as not to inconvenience anyone else. A positive version of this would have to be if they stated that it is something along the lines of time-tested which implies that no matter what, the subject has withstood the test of time and is able to hold their own against the newer ones since they have proven their resilience throughout most of their lifespan and that they have a good record ever since which makes them all the more valuable.
  • Inactive – this term is implying that the subject has not been active any time recently and that there is a reason for why they are so. The positive version of this would have to be relaxed which implies that the subject is in a state wherein they are not bothered by the situation that is happening in their lives or by what is happening around their surroundings so they are able to calmly handle most situations in a collected manner. The negative of this would have to be lazy which implies that they do not care to move at all.

Neutral Connotations As A Writing Technique

Neutral connotations for writers and speakers would allow them to create a context that would show that they have a neutral stance regarding the subject that they are referring to and have no emotional or any form of association with it. While their words may lose some sense of uniqueness, ruggedness, variety, or anything of the sort to it, it would also be possible for it to add a sort of sense of mystique about their view on the matter. A connotation is subjective by default so it can also be up to the reader or the one hearing the speaker if they want to add their own form of interpretation to those words despite being in neutral form.

The Pros and Cons of Using Neutral Connotations

The Pros

When you are writing about something and you are conflicted as to what kind of light you would like to shed about the subject that you are writing about, then you can use neutral connotations instead of flipping a coin over positive or negative connotations. It will save you time and effort and it may be able to make your content have a better flow as opposed to if you were using a negative or positive connotation. You will also be able to hide any sort of favoritism for any characters and remain ambiguous on the matter so as not to sound too obvious to those who will read your work in the future.

The Cons

There will be instances where it would be necessary for you to use either a positive or negative connotation on your work or in your speech since you will need to emphasize a sort of emotion that will give depth to your characters or you would have to give an example of an instance wherein there needs to be an emotion to your connotations and neutral ones are devoid of any such emotions or associations.

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