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What is Positive Connotation? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 Paired Associations
  • 0:36 Positive Connotation Examples
  • 3:00 Words with Positive…
  • 3:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Carnevale

Jennifer has a dual master's in English literature/teaching and is currently a high school English teacher. She teaches college classes on the side.

We use words to describe our experiences in the world. Some experiences are positive, some negative, and the rest are neutral as are the words used to define them. In this lesson, we will learn about positive connotation through examples and practice.

Paired Associations

When you think of the word 'balloon', what do you think of? A birthday party, carnival, maybe a hot air balloon? A balloon is a common object; however, there are different associations that individuals pair with words depending on life experiences.

When talking about grammar, the same goes for emotional connections. There are some words that have positive associations, some negative, and the rest are neutral. These associations are a word's connotation. This lesson focuses on positive connotations.

Positive Connotation Examples

A positive connotation is a positive or good association that connects to a specific word. The connotation makes the word seem pleasant or affirmative in the context it's used.

Take a look at the word 'smell.'

  • Kevin 'smelled' something coming from the kitchen. He put his book down and went to investigate.

The word 'smell' does not inform the reader if it is a good or a bad smell; therefore, it has a neutral connotation. What if 'smell' was replaced with the word 'aroma?' What would change?

  • There was an 'aroma' coming from the kitchen. Kevin put his book down and went to investigate.

The word 'aroma' has a positive connotation. It means whatever is in the kitchen smells good. Therefore, one could assume Kevin smells someone's delicious cooking.

What about using the word 'stench?'

  • There was a 'stench' coming from the kitchen. Kevin put his book down and went to investigate.

The word 'stench' has a negative connotation and makes us think Kevin smells something bad or rotten.

Here's another example. How about the word 'work?'

  • Lashawn 'worked' on her final exam paper.

How does Lashawn feel about working on her paper? There are no hints in this sentence because the word 'work' is neutral.

What if the word was changed to 'agonized?'

  • Lashawn 'agonized' over her final exam paper.

Well, that doesn't sound like fun. By using the word 'agonize,' a negative connotation that shows the experience was emotionally painful has been added.

Consider a positive connotation. How about this:

  • Lashawn 'effortlessly' completed her final exam paper.

The word 'effortlessly' has a positive connotation and shows she was able to complete the paper with little to no effort.

Finally, take the word 'visitor.' The word has a neutral connotation; it doesn't have a positive or negative association. When one thinks of a visitor, he or she may think of a guest in one's home.

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