Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

Pain in the English offers proofreading services for short-form writing such as press releases, job applications, or marketing copy. 24 hour turnaround. Learn More


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?

  • November 21, 2002
  • Posted by Dyske
  • Filed in Usage

Submit Your Comment



Sort by  OldestLatestRating

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?".

askROM February 1, 2003, 12:29pm

1 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

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

Case in point.

Max March 25, 2009, 6:33am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

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.

purpledragon_13 November 23, 2002, 2:30am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Yes     No