Submitted by Dyske  •  November 21, 2002

Emotionality

Some people say “emotionality” is not a word. It is in Webster. What is the difference between emotion and emotionality? What is my emotion? And, what is my emotionality?

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"Her emotionality is getting irritating."
"Her emotion is getting irritating."

Case in point.

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Emotionality is a made up word used to make a person sound smarter than if they used the word "emotion". It has a postmodernist flavor to it, suggesting that the concept being discussed (emotion) is somehow 'bigger', 'deeper', or more all-encompassing than the shorter, more common word might suggest. It's a crutch that allows the user to suggest that they mean a bigger concept without having to specify what that bigger concept might be.

Similar words are "intentionality" and "functionality". I've never seen an instance of "-ality" where the shorter word wouldn't have been just as good, including Evelyn's example below (in her example, the respondant should have said "it is just my emotional structure" or "it is just the way my emotions work").

There's a great line in a Woody Allen movie where he asks someone about a rock concert: "Did it acheive total heavyocity?".

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Both emotionality and emotion are nouns. But emotionality is concerns with representing the nature of someone or something's "emotion". For example, if I were to say "Dyske is a very sensitive person. Sometimes he can't control his emotions." You could respond by saying, "I can't explain why I am like that, it is just my emotionality." I soppose both words could be used interchangeably, but most people use emotion because the latter is rather redundant.

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