File - Mrs. Gentry`s English Class

Connotation and Denotation
Warm up
• What is the difference between these two
• House
• Home
Learning Objective
• Analyze connotative meanings of words and
how connotation can change the meaning of a
What is denotation?
• Denotation: The dictionary definition of
a word.
• Denotation of house: a place where
someone lives
• Denotation of home: a place where
someone lives.
What is connotation?
• Connotation: the emotional / contextual
/ cultural meaning attached to a word;
shades and degrees of meaning
• Connotation of house: the actual
building or structure
• Connotation of home: warm, cozy, loving
Let’s try one on our own
• Denotation of gray: a shade between or
a mix between black and white
• Connotation of gray: to me gray means a
cold, cloudy day.
• Denotation of rose:
• Connotation of rose:
Good writers and advertisers
choose their images and words
VERY carefully!
A two step content analysis of pictures.
Denotation. Straightforward reading of what is in the
Connotation. The extra, linked meanings that go with
the picture.
1 :- Sky. Sand. Girl. Boy. Donkey.
2:- Beach. Seaside. Holiday. Family holiday. Traditional British holiday.
photo courtesy of photolibrary wales
Notice how other pictures can have different denotational suggestions but the same
connotational suggestions.
The connotations for all of these pictures
is the same as the previous onetraditional,family holidays.
The bright colours, blue skies and smiling
faces have connotations of happiness.
photos courtesy of photolibrary wales
A 2 step content analysis of these images would work in the same way.
They both contain similar denotational features : large buildings, street and
street lamps but the connotations of the pictures are the same – an inner city.
photos courtesy of photolibrary wales
The connotations of these buildings is
different from the previous two however
because we associate these sky scrapers
with America.
Add two men wearing suits and carrying briefcases
and we have extra connotations of a high powered,
sophisticated glamorous and successful lifestyle
What are the connotations of these images?
• Which word in each pair below has the
more favorable connotation to you?
Circle your answer.
– Thrifty
– Pushy
– Politician
– Chef
– Slender
Let’s analyze how words can affect
• She walked into the room.
• What can we really tell about what the student did?
The sentence is rather bland because we cannot
visualize anything about the action.
• What other verbs can we use to show how the student
enters the room?
• Bounced? Rushed? Walked slowly? Strutted, slithered,
pranced, oozed, or marched?
• What basic denotative meaning do these words have?
• How are their connotative meanings different?
Connotation in writing…
• Consider this example. Suppose your class has recently visited a
greenhouse and you are asked to write a report explaining what you
observed during the visit. You decide to focus on safety issues when
using propane heaters to warm the greenhouse and a classmate is
writing about an exotic flower. You both included the following
sentences in your papers:
• Classmate: When the flowers are in bloom, their smell fills the
• You: When a gas line leaks, the smell fills the greenhouse.
• There’s nothing “wrong” with either sentence, but by using the word
smell and its denotative meaning, does the reader get an accurate idea
of what you or your classmate intended? Now consider these revisions
with connotation in mind:
• Classmate: When the flowers are in bloom, their fragrance fills the
• You: When a gas line leaks, the stench fills the greenhouse.
• Smell, fragrance, and stench each have essentially the same denotation,
they are all “odors,” but their connotations are quite different. In the
revision, the reader has a much better idea of what the author really
intended by the use of the word smell.
Peer interaction: Use these sentence
frames to demonstrate your
understanding of today’s terms:
• Denotation is a word’s
__________________, Furthermore,
connotation is a
word’s_________________. The
denotative meaning for the word rose
is___________ while the connotative
meaning of the word rose
• When writing, specifically a persuasive paper,
your word choice will affect your paper’s
overall tone and purpose.
• In addition, when reading, by understanding
the author’s use of connotation, you will
better understand his/her message.
• Directions: For each numbered set below,
evaluate then categorize the individual words
under the column which best describes their
• Example:
• You are working with your 9:00 appointment.
• Instructions:
Each of the short passages below (in italics) is fairly objective and colorless,
using words with neutral connotations. Your job is to write two new
versions of each passage: first, using words with positive connotations to
show the subject in an attractive light; second, using words with negative
connotations to describe the same subject in a less favorable way. The
guidelines following each passage should help you focus your revisions.
• A. Gus cooked dinner for Merdine. He prepared some meat and vegetables
and a special dessert.
(1) Describe the meal that Gus prepared, making it sound appetizing by
using words with favorable connotations.
(2) Describe the meal again, this time using words with negative
connotations to make it sound quite unappealing.
• B. The person did not weigh very much. The person had brown hair and a
small nose. The person wore informal clothing.
(1) Identify and describe this particularly attractive person.
(2) Identify and describe this particularly unattractive person.
• C. Douglas was careful with his money. He kept his money in a safe place. He
bought only the necessities of life. He never borrowed or lent money.
(1) Choose words that show how impressed you are by Douglas's sense of
(2) Choose words that make fun of Douglas or pass scorn on him for being
such a tightwad.
Paragraph rubric
• 4
• Paragraph uses word connotation to keep a consistent mood
throughout the paragraph; word choice is above standard.
• 3
• Paragraph uses word connotation to keep a somewhat consistent
mood throughout the paragraph with some slight variations in
• 2
• Paragraph uses word connotation inconsistently; mood in
paragraph is unclear.
• 1
• Little use of connotation; no set mood is evident.