“I didn’t mean it”

The quote “Words have the power to change your life”- (unknown) is of particular importance to me. This quote caused me to think about how important our word choices are. Words possess so much power. Your voice is like a gun and words are your bullets. Just through using certain words we can unearth so many feelings and emotions. Simple words can cause so much happiness or so much pain. There is also a significant difference between what we say and what we actually mean. This links to pragmatics, a simple sentence can shift drastically in meaning depending on the circumstance. For example the utterance “You don’t, but I do” can have multiple meanings.

  1. “I don’t have a pen” “You don’t, but I do!”
  2. “I don’t believe in magic” “You don’t, but I do!”
  3. “I don’t think you love me anymore” “You don’t, but I do!”

I am guessing you were quite shocked by the last one? This is evidence of how the same words can have such a powerful effect depending on the situation taking place. This links to the fact we can change the meaning of words by adding prefixes: Happy to unhappy, social to anti-social, satisfied to dissatisfied. By adding the prefixes “un”, “anti-” and “dis-” we have created words with totally different meanings.

We can also create different meanings through our pronunciation. The pace, pitch and volume of our voice all reflect our feelings and passion; silence can be the most powerful noise.

When people say “I hate this/that/them” my reply is always “hate is a very strong word”. Some people would just look at me bizarrely, others would change their mind and say “Ok, I really don’t like them” or “Yeah, but I don’t mean it”. It’s amazing how blasé we can be about the meaning of words and the reaction they can cause.

Many people who face a near-death experience find themselves praying, why? It’s because we find comfort from the words we say and the hope we receive from them. What’s your favourite song? I am probably correct in saying it is your favourite song because of the words. ‘Iris’ by the Goo Goo dolls is my favourite because of the heartfelt lyrics, no matter how many times it is played it can still make me cry.

In the same way as songs, speeches contain enough emotion to cause a reaction. Winston Churchill was an incredible orator who inspired so many people with his speeches. His most famous is “We shall fight them on the Beaches” speech. The speech was given in June 1940 after the evacuation at Dunkirk; this was actually a military disaster and left thousands for dead. I was unaware of this before I researched the speech, the difference between hearing the end of the speech (Click here) and the full version (Click here ) emphasises Churchill’s focus on inspiring positivity. Churchill gave thousands of people the determination to continue fighting through the power of his speeches.

As Rudyard Kipling the poet and writer once said “I am by nature a dealer in words, and words are the most powerful drug known to humanity”. Words can break a soul, words can mend a soul, words can bring war, words can bring peace, words can cause hatred and words can bring love. Words have power. No matter what you say they are never simply ‘just words’- use your power wisely.


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