Positive and Negative Connotations

When you are describing someone or even something, there can be many interpretations of what you are actually meaning so other people might take what you mean in a different way than what you had originally implied, which is why it is ideal to have a good grasp of the positive and negative forms of connotations.

Connotations are basically descriptions of people, places or things which can easily be perceived in a positive, negative and even neutral manner depending on how you used it on the context. This is in addition to the literal meaning of your words, which is known as denotation. So the difference between the two is that connotations are associated meanings while denotations are the literal meanings.

So now that we know what a connotation and by extent a denotation means, we can move on to learn more about positive and negative connotations. They make you rethink about the way you are about to speak about someone, something or someplace since you need to be sure you get your true intent across to those you are speaking with.

Positive Connotations

Positive connotations are those descriptive words that imply positive meanings to those that you were speaking with, or have read what you have written.

Examples of positive connotations:

  • Bold – if you proclaim that someone is bold, it would show them in a positive light and that they are not afraid to go to great lengths to see things through. Although it is also possible others could interpret this in a negative manner like seeing them as brash. But, they could more likely connote that they are cocky, annoying or are very overbearing instead of bold.
  • Stylish – if someone is considered stylish then their sense of style is one that is highly respected, and they would often be sought after by many people who are looking for advice on how to improve their own style. The opposite of this would be if they consider that person to be faddish instead of stylish which would imply that they are just individuals who love to follow the hot trends, and do not actually have their own sense of style and it would not be long before they follow the next hot trend since fads would usually tend to die down quite fast.
  • Strong-willed – this implies that the person is someone who is steadfast in their resolve and will not easily back down to conform to those that demand things from them. The negative version of this would have to be stubborn which implies that this person would not budge on their decisions no matter what, even if those very decisions are something that could be nearly impossible to achieve, are nonsensical in a logical manner, or are too demanding given the current capabilities of those around them.

Negative Connotations

Negative connotations are those descriptive words that imply negativity; like a blight that might bring about an implication to feel sorry for themselves for being what they are. Though there are words that have a sort of cool ring to them. In reality, these words are actually meant for belittling the receiver, and should normally be taken as an offense.

Examples of negative connotation:

  • Scrawny – this would imply that the person is dangerously thin; that they look like they could be anorexic. Even if it is something that they have no control over due to their body’s metabolism or hormones affecting their overall physique, these people would still potentially be offended by it. The opposite of this would be if they are called thin which still has basically the same meaning, but people do not take this as an offense most of the time as compared to the term scrawny. People would even take this term as a compliment since it could show that they were fat before and have now become thin.
  • Mushy – this implies that the person is someone who is very cheesy or far too emotional for their own good which makes them annoying and difficult to be with on a regular basis. The lighter version of this term would have to be sentimental which means that they are someone who can easily read the mood and they can easily show their emotions to other people which can make it easier to be around them as you would know if they would have any sort of hidden agenda or anything of the like.
  • Hyperactive – this can imply that the person is someone who has a lot of energy to spend so much that keeping up with them is quite a hassle since there is a noticeable gap between both of your energy levels and staying with them just drains more of your stamina than doing physical exercises. The brighter side of this term would have to be energetic and while they basically mean the same thing the use of the term makes it sound like it is much more of a compliment rather than a derogatory term since it shows that they have an extra amount of energy to spend when it comes to doing activities or tasks that are assigned to them. Others would even look up to them since they show a kind of grit and tenacity when it comes to their execution of the stuff that they have to do.
  • Lazy – this implies that the person is someone who is very lethargic especially when it comes to doing tasks that they have to do even if they are tasks that are entirely optional. These people would almost always look for the easy way out of doing anything so they would often look for alternatives on how to execute the task at hand in the laziest way possible and if not then they would just procrastinate and let time run out instead of actually using that time to do what they needed to do. A term that would show these people in a better light would be calm. The term calm would imply that these people are not fazed by the situation that is happening around them and that they are collected enough that they do not feel the need to panic or fret over it unlike many other individuals. These people are often the ones who make the most logical solutions out of most situations.

Connotations As Techniques

Connotations can also be used for literary works since they can create a more personal interpretation for the readers to analyze through the actual intent of the meanings would be up to the author’s discretion whether or not they would divulge if it is one or two meanings or they leave it open for interpretation.

Connotation In Poetry

Many times when you are reading poetry you can actually find many examples of connotation as you read through it, although it might be a bit tricky to spot them since poetry loves to play around with their meanings. When you do spot them, you may notice that their meanings are much more concentrated or enriched which would lead to having a more in-depth understanding while using lesser words. Connotations also have an effect of creating imagery for the readers since they happen to have a peculiar feeling to them which sets the mood or the tone of the poem, an incredible technique used by the poets. It is also a good practice to use less fancy words when writing poems and look for either the simple ones or the ones that best fit the theme of the poems since the most memorable poems are not the ones with the most high-class choice of word,s but the ones with the most impact in their meaning behind the words were chosen.

Connotation In Logical Terms

Connotation contrasts with denotation quite often, and it is also very evident in terms of logic. In logic, connotation may be thought of as the set of all possible referents while denotation is considered to be the set of all things that it is actually referring to. A good example of this would be if somebody called someone else a “pig”. In terms of denotation, a “pig” would refer to an omnivorous quadrupedal farm animal that barely has any hair on its body, it is mostly naked and loves to roll around mud holes. So in terms of connotation, when you say it to someone it would most likely imply that they are fat, ugly or uncivilized which would be very offensive. Although there is a slight possibility that it could actually be a compliment if the speaker could be highlighting the good points about being a “pig”.


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