Connotations are the feelings and ideas that are suggested by a word, beyond the literal definitions. Expanding your adjective vocabulary in English allows you to express yourself more subtly, and to catch positive and negative implications that you would otherwise miss.
Let’s focus on adjectives of personality, and talk about the positive or negative connotations that they imply.
Have you ever noticed that what we think of others often has more to do with our point of view than it does with the people themselves?
Let’s look at some examples. Can you think of someone who fits the descriptions?
1.) Think of a popular comedian. Some people might think they are funny, while others find them absurd.
2.) Think of a quiet, wise person. Some perceive them as calm and wise, while others may consider them boring and dull.
3.) Think of a strong, female leader or politician. Some may consider her to be assertive and self-assured, and others see her as bossy and stubborn.
4.) Think of a historical inventor or scientist that was considered weird and crazy in their time, but who came to be thought of as unique and insightful.
Can you connect the adjectives with similar meanings?
Reorganize the adjectives with negative connotations on the left to go with their corresponding adjectives with positive connotations on the right.
Go through the completed lists above, and take turns talking about how you think of yourself. Do you identify more with the positive or the negative adjective?
Look up a controversial public figure. Read one short news item from each conflicting point of view. What adjectives do the writers use?
Describe a time your opinion of someone changed. Feel free to refer to public figures, your personal life, characters in shows, or to invent your own story.