Professional Style

Connote vs. Denote

December 2016
Spot the Error

Janelle loves the prospect of becoming a mother. To her, “mother” denotes nurturing and compassion.

Denote refers to the literal or primary meaning of a word. “Mother” denotes a female parent. The correct word for the “mother” sentence above is connote, which means to suggest, imply, or signify indirectly. For example:

  • Summer denotes a season, but connotes warm weather.
  • A 50% discount denotes a reduced price, but connotes a bargain.
  • Whereas chocolate denotes a sweetened preparation from cacao seeds, it connotes comfort and happiness.

~ Thank you, Dennis O., for your topic suggestion.

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