If you’re using words like “connote” and “denote” to elevate your communications, you’re already set to take on the world, using your vocabulary to strut your stuff. The problem comes when you don’t actually realize what you’re saying.
That’s never a good thing.
When it comes to “connote” vs. “denote,” think of “connections” and “definitions.”
- “Connote” means to show a connection or suggest an idea (but not literally)—for example, your slumped posture connotes that you need a vacation.
- “Denote” means to refer to an exact meaning, a literal definition—for example, a driver’s license denotes that you are allowed to be behind the wheel on your next road trip; a “reserved” sign denotes that a certain row boat is unavailable.
Words, images, and symbols “connote” and “denote” ideas. If we’re talking about people, of course, then you would need words like “imply” and “explain.”
When you take the time to step your business communications up a notch, you can appear more educated, more thoughtful, and more prepared for the next level. Adding words like “connote” and “denote” into your everyday language is one way to start bringing you there, but just make sure you’re getting it right.
Happy writing, everyone!
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