Edited to add:
Her Royal Sweetness Lisa Burger realized what a pain it is to scroll through this long-ass list and kindly whipped up a lovely document that you can use as your very own swipe file. Now ain’t that sweet! Get it here.
Words aren’t just strings of alphabets sewn together with ink
Words are cues
Words are triggers
Words when used correctly can transform an “eh whatever” into “wow that’s it!”
Words can make you go from literally ROFL to fuming with fury to an uncontrollable-urge-to-take-action-NOW-or-the-earth-may-stop-swinging -on-its-axis.
These are what I call High Emotion Words
And these are capable of transforming an absolute no into almost yes and a “perhaps” into “for sure”!
Because it isn’t really about your desired action but the underlying emotion that drives that action. If you get them to feel that emotion, you GOT ‘em.
When you are trying to sell people a solution, what you are REALLY doing is evoking desire by making them imagine their best possible future with your solution
When you are trying to get them to take an action (like, share, subscribe, buy) what you are REALLY doing is arousing them (not THAT way… get your mind out of the gutter) to make it impossible for them NOT to take an action
When you are trying to get people to click and read your article, what you are REALLY doing is evoking curiosity so fierce that it claws at the minds of a casual browser and forces him to click that link and read that piece.
When you are trying to get someone to agree with you, what you are REALLY doing is trying to evoke empathy so they see your point of view.
So what are these high emotion words that can work this magic?
Glad you asked.
I have compiled a list of 380 words that are proven to induce certain emotions (both negative and positive) and that I strongly encourage you use in your online (and offline) communications to get your prospect to take the desired action.
But before I share the list with you, here is a 3 step plan to get the most out of these words:
Step One: Determine the desired action you want your prospect to take (e.g. like, share, read, subscribe, comment, buy etc.)
Step Two: Determine the exact emotional state that will drive that action (e.g. curious, relaxed, fearful, inspired etc.)
Step Three: Choose some of the words from this list and sprinkle ‘em throughout your content.
And now The List:
Emotional State: Curiosity (when you want them to be gripped by an unshakable desire to click and read more):
- What no one tells you
- Have you heard
- Behind the Scenes
- Secret agenda
- Secret plot
- Off-the record
- No one talks about
Emotional State: Urgency (If you want then to take action now now now):
- Missing Out
- Left behind
- Most Important
- Strongly agree/ recommend
- Strongly suggest
- Instant Savings
Emotional State: Confusion and Helplessness (Especially useful when questioning Status Quo, making them realize what they are missing out or “us vs them” style content)
Emotional State: Anger (This is a high physiological arousal emotional state that can help drive a number of actions such as getting support for a cause or sharing content because of the sheer outrage felt)
- ticked off
Emotional State: Safe and Satisfied (Great for Sales Pages when you want people to feel secure in their choice)
- A cut above
- Highly effective/ likely
- First ever
Emotional State: Happy and Alive (Health based products or services):
- on top of the
- at ease
Emotional State: Inspired (as part of content that is meant to inspire and make them feel like they are capable and in charge)
- in the zone
Emotional State: Relaxed and Peaceful (Products or services that offer mental peace and relaxation):
- at ease
phewwwww that was one long ass list don’t you think?
But how about we make it to 500. Now that’s a thought!
Help make that happen guys and drop some of your favorite high emotion words in the comments and I will go and add those to this list (with credit of course)
Ready. Set. GO!
Edited to Add:
I literally have the BEST readers ever and the the ever generous & awesome (Not to mention with the coolest name Eva!) Jo Jo Fildi has contributed some 20+ words making it a square 400. I have added those above colored in blue.
The Work of Byron Katie
Persuasive and Emotive Language
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When taking the ACT essay section, students have 45 minutes to write a well-reasoned argumentative essay about a given prompt. The new ACT Essay prompts tend to be about “debate” topics — two sides of an issue are presented, with no obviously “right” side. Oftentimes, these subjects carry implications for broader issues such as freedom or morality. Test-takers are expected to convey some stance on the issue and support their argument with relevant facts and analysis.
In addition to some of the more obvious categories, like grammar and structure, students’ essays are also evaluated on their mastery of the English language. One way to demonstrate such mastery is through the correct usage of advanced vocabulary words. Below are 50 above-average vocabulary words sorted by the contexts in which they could most easily be worked into an ACT essay.
Context 1: Factual Support For ACT Essay
These words can easily be used when stating facts and describing examples to support one’s argument. On ACT essays, common examples are trends or patterns of human behavior, current or past events, and large-scale laws or regulations.
- Antecedent – a precursor, or preceding event for something – N
- Bastion – an institution/place/person that strongly maintains particular principles, attitudes, or activities – N
- Bellwether – something that indicates a trend – N
- Burgeon – to begin to grow or increase rapidly – V
- Catalyst – an agent that provokes or triggers change – N
- Defunct – no longer in existence or functioning – Adj.
- Entrenched – characterized by something that is firmly established and difficult to change – Adj.
- Foster – to encourage the development of something – V
- Galvanize – to shock or excite someone into taking action – V
- Impetus – something that makes a process or activity happen or happen faster – N
- Inadvertent – accidental or unintentional – Adj.
- Incessant – never ending; continuing without pause – Adj.
- Inflame – to provoke or intensify strong feelings in someone – V
- Instill – to gradually but firmly establish an idea or attitude into a person’s mind – V
- Lucrative – having a large reward, monetary or otherwise – Adj.
- Myriad – countless or extremely large in number – Adj.
- Precipitate – to cause something to happen suddenly or unexpectedly – V
- Proponent – a person who advocates for something – N
- Resurgence – an increase or revival after a period of limited activity – N
- Revitalize – to give something new life and vitality – V
- Ubiquitous – characterized by being everywhere; widespread – Adj.
- Watershed – an event or period that marks a turning point – N
Context 2: Analysis
These words can often be used when describing common patterns between examples or casting some form of opinion or judgement.
- Anomaly – deviation from the norm – N
- Automaton – a mindless follower; someone who acts in a mechanical fashion – N
- Belie – to fail to give a true impression of something – V
- Cupidity – excessive greed – Adj.
- Debacle – a powerful failure; a fiasco – N
- Demagogue – a political leader or person who looks for support by appealing to prejudices instead of using rational arguments – N
- Deter – to discourage someone from doing something by making them doubt or fear the consequences – V
- Discredit – to harm the reputation or respect for someone – V
- Draconian – characterized by strict laws, rules and punishments – Adj.
- Duplicitous – deliberately deceitful in speech/behavior – Adj.
- Egregious – conspicuously bad; extremely evil; monstrous and outrageous – Adj.
- Exacerbate – to make a situation worse – V
- Ignominious – deserving or causing public disgrace or shame – Adj.
- Insidious – proceeding in a subtle way but with harmful effects – Adj.
- Myopic – short-sighted; not considering the long run – Adj.
- Pernicious – dangerous and harmful – Adj.
- Renegade – a person who betrays an organization, country, or set of principles – N
- Stigmatize – to describe or regard as worthy of disgrace or disapproval – V
- Superfluous – unnecessary – Adj.
- Venal – corrupt; susceptible to bribery – Adj.
- Virulent – extremely severe or harmful in its effects – Adj.
- Zealot – a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals – N
Context 3: Thesis and Argument
These words are appropriate for taking a stance on controversial topics, placing greater weight on one or the other end of the spectrum, usually touching on abstract concepts, and/or related to human nature or societal issues.
- Autonomy – independence or self governance; the right to make decisions for oneself – N
- Conundrum – a difficult problem with no easy solution – N
- Dichotomy – a division or contrast between two things that are presented as opposites or entirely different – N
- Disparity – a great difference between things – N
- Divisive – causing disagreement or hostility between people – Adj.
- Egalitarian – favoring social equality and equal rights – Adj.
Although it’s true that vocabulary is one of the lesser criteria by which students’ ACT essays are graded, the small boost it may give to a student’s score could be the difference between a good score and a great score. For those who are already confident in their ability to create and support a well-reasoned argument but still want to go the extra mile, having a few general-purpose, impressive-sounding vocabulary words up one’s sleeve is a great way to tack on even more points.
To learn more about the ACT test, check out these CollegeVine posts:
Angela is a student at Cornell College of Engineering. At CollegeVine, she works primarily as ACT Verbal Division Manager. She enjoys teaching a variety of subjects and helping students realize their dreams.