Language can be a devious tool

Friday, January 18th, 2013


Have you ever considered that simple words in our language are used in a devious way? A way that we have never even considered? As writers and readers maybe you are more apt to pick up on this.

For example lets look at the words “no” and “yes”

“No swimming today in our pool.” “Yes, you can have that to eat.”

Stop. What is you initial reaction to the connotation of those two sentences?

Probably and arguably correct, the answer is negative for the first one and positive for the second one. But is that really the case? Let’s dissect the scenarios more presented by those two statements.

“No swimming today in our pool. There is a storm only minutes away. It is about to hit our house.”

All of sudden the negative connotation is suddenly changed with a little more information. “No”, is not such a bad thing right?

“Yes, you can have that to eat. But for dinner we are eating something else besides fried food.”

All of sudden the positive connotation has changed. “Yes”, is not such a good thing?

You may be thinking “duh” who doesn’t know with more information the connotation changes. That is not the point. From birth we are conditioned that “no” is negative, and “yes” is positive (Proven by your initial reaction to the first two sentence). The older we get the more this is instilled into our way of living. It becomes harder for us to say “no” and easier for us to say “yes”.

But is “no” really so bad? And is “yes” really so great? I think we all could learn how to say “no” more and “yes” less. You will be surprised by how much freedom this will create in your life.


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