Simply Semantics

Wow! Do we writers have a superpower or what? “What power?” You say. Why the power to manipulate your thoughts, your emotions, your heart; your topics at the dinner table, and your reactions to a fiction or non-fiction event in the life of a character’s, or someone you have never met. So much so that you become captivated by that event which the writer wants you to be drawn into. Not only are you drawn into it, but before you know it, you actually take on the writer’s opinion and their belief in what they say. What a super power huh?
How many of us have been pulled so far into a story that we have cried at the drop of a hat or “Body” in the depths of a story. How do we do that? How do we drag you in so effortlessly? Well it’s our word choice of course. Word choice is so important in the written word. As stated in this comment:

“The goal, in the end, is to write emotion without explicitly stating it. With the right combination of characteristics, imagery, thoughts and actions, your readers should be able to infer the emotion through context.”[]

Interesting, hmmm? How do you think an author pulls at your heart strings? A journalist gets your attention? The media gets you to stay on their news channel until the next story. It’s all in the semantics, ladies and gents. Semantics are a writer’s best friend. Look at the group of words below.


Migration Migrate

Migrant Emigrant


Pilgrimage: Caravan: procession

Wow, aren’t those words familiar, especially to you 24 hour news junkies. Let’s try it on for size.

      I don’t know about you, but when I hear [1] invasion . I think of warriors running at a boarder armed with guns, knives, light sabers, and weapons, meaning to cause citizens physical harm and annihilate them. Really? News opinionist (yes I intended to use that word) love using words like these. Their intention is to sway your opinion to their side of the debate / argument. (I’ll let you fill in the word you would use in that comment.) Consider the impact of whatever word you use. It could change the reaction of your reader.
     Opinionists’ want you to believe what they say is the God’s honest truth, and the basic subject may very well be, but how they approach that subject is basically their view so they’re going to use words that will persuade you, and bring you to their side; their “Opinion.” That is why they use phrases like. “You know what I think?”; “Here’s my take.”; “This is what I’m seeing.”; “Here’s what I believe”; whenever the word I comes into the phrases my antennae always goes up. I approach with caution, and I look for the trigger words. The words which will “Trigger” a reaction from you. Words that are intended to make one “Angry” or “Question” yourself, your conclusions, or the facts.

     Think of the word invasion[1], how it is being used to describe the travelers coming from Honduras the [2]Caravan There is a visual word for you. Look at the meanings for it. The media latched onto that word fast. I, myself would call this event that is happening at our border a [3] migration “In my opinion”, it could be a [4]Pilgrimage Now I like that word, it suggests adventure, discovery, and a new life at the end of that journey. See how many different words could be used to describe one event and each one can evoke a different reaction from the reader or audience of the writer. Let’s look at a couple more; one is a favorite of the media, because it pulls on the heart strings a bit more.
     Some people will call our ban of travelers [5]Refugees or a very closely related synonym because it evokes strong emotions. Another term that they may also evoke sympathy from interested parties is [6]Emigrant . Have you found your word yet? The one that expresses your opinion about a very newsworthy event, happening in our country today? Which one would you use? Myself? I kind of like Emigrant and pilgrimage or Migration.

The Caravan of emigrants is migrating to America to find a better life for them and their family.

     This is a much gentler presentation about the people trying to take refuge in our country. It’s all in the semantics and the presentation. Writers do this in their works, and the media does this in their news stories.
     News used to be about reporting the facts and presenting it to you. It’s about flowers, grit, and opinions. In today’s cutthroat world of media battles, semantics and presentation have become more important than ever. You need a little dose of all three of those in the paragraphs on your page.
     Personally I don’t think opinions have any place in presenting the news, but unfortunately there is a fast growing audience for that.
     In my opinion, Opinionists have led way too much anger and distrust among their listeners, readers etc . . . . What we have in this country is misguided information sent out by misguided leaders, and a ratings hungry media. They need a way to persuade you to come over to your side. Semantics and Opinions give them a door.
     What about those of us in the middle, like me? At one time I could was a “party” girl, and took whatever my particular “Side” said as truth, but not anymore.
     Over the last few years, I have moved to the middle and declared myself and Independent I put my hands up, palms out, arms straight and I push as Sampson did on those columns, and push with all the strength I have. I have no use for the conflicting opinions, Nor the semantics or the use of hard core emotional words to sway me one way or the other. Both parties do it, and I’m done with the game. I want what’s real. I want to feel the warmth of love and kindness, and the satisfaction of helping others. I want to see what my country was meant to be. The hard core semantics used out there are just games of words, to people, a means to an end, but I want the truth, not their version of it, and only readers can stop what the opinionists are doing to cause more division in this country, my country, my home.

Definitions :

[1] 1 : an act of invading especially for conquest or plunder incursion of an army; 2 : the incoming or spread of something usually hurtful

[2] noun car·​a·​van | \ˈker-ə-ˌvan,  ˈka-rə-  1a : a company of travelers on a journey through desert or hostile regions also : a train of pack animals b : a group of vehicles traveling together (as in a file) 2a : a covered wagon or motor vehicle equipped as traveling living quarters b British : TRAILER sense

[3] Migration: migration noun mi·​gra·​tion | \mī-ˈgrā-shən  \  the act, process, or an instance of Migrating

Migrate: verb mi·​grate | \ˈmī-ˌgrāt,  mī-ˈ  \ migrated; migrating intransitive verb\ 1 : to move from one country, place, or locality to another.

[4] verb pilgrimaged; pilgrimaging\ to go on a pilgrimage / Pilgrim: one who journeys in foreign lands : WAYFARER 2: one who travels to a shrine or holy place as a devotee

[5] ref·​u·​gee | \ˌre-fyu̇-ˈjē,  ˈre-fyu̇-ˌjē\ : one that flees especially a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution

[6] adjective: departing or having departed from a country to settle elsewhere


Author: bonnielpleisch

Bonnie likes to explore the different genre's of writing when she is working. Her novels may not always be tagged as one genre, without a little shake of some others. Paranormal and Science Fiction are her favorites. She is a mom of 3 and a grandmother of 7. She lives in NH with husband and dog.

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