BBC Home
Explore the BBC


Teachers: Literacy: Word

Last Updated: Wednesday August 10 2005 10:25 GMT

Emotive language


Man gripping forehead (Picture: 1998 EyeWire, Inc.)
Students look at the emotion-based language in a news story and write their own emotive reports.

Learning aims
  • Learn and use the term emotive
  • Develop vocabulary by rewriting texts in a more emotive style

UK seas are in trouble says the WWF

Explain to the class that language is called emotive when it causes people to feel emotional.

If you have just had your new bike stolen then your friends may avoid boasting about how great their bikes are. Bikes are an emotive subject for you after this has happened.

People or organisations often choose emotive words to get more of a reaction from the reader.

Read out this story to the class.

Make a class list of examples of emotive language in the news story:

  • in crisis
  • dying out
  • warned
  • threats have become reality
  • much more consideration
  • destroyed
Main activity

Select a different news story for the class to change into a more emotive text.

A good suggestion is this story:

Extension activity

Students replace the bold words in the headlines below with more emotive words:

1. Man hit by robbers.

2. A hundred slaves killed by soldiers.

3. Argument closes school.

4. Bus seats cut by teenagers.

5. Football fans run onto pitch.

6. Money shortage creates problems for banks.

7. Player hits referee.


Students present their re-written news stories and explain how they acheived the emotive effect.

Curriculum relevance

English / KS 2&3 / En3 Writing
1b. To broaden vocabulary and use it in inventive ways.
1c. To use and adapt the features of a form of writing, drawing on reading.
9c. To persuade, focusing on how arguments and evidence are built up and language used to convince the reader.

The numbers refer to the KS2 National Curriculum Programme of Study for English.

For hundreds more news-based stories, click on Teachers on the left-hand side.

Related Lessons

BBC Homepage >> | CBBC Homepage >>

Meet the Team | Help | Contact Us | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy