Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Eager & Anxious to Convince & Persuade

Lloyd from Boyne City called in about words that once were quite distinct, but are now beginning to blend. In particular, he mentioned eager/anxious and persuade/convince.

Eager has positive connotations. It conjures up excited anticipation and keen desire. In contrast, anxious has negative undertones. It reeks of uneasiness and concern. It involves distress and worry. It is, after all, cousin to anxiety. The principal misuse involves substituting anxious for eager.

To convince, it seems to me, is an intellectual act. It involves evidence and logical argument. To persuade, on the other hand, involves emotion. A person is enticed in a particular direction, towards a specific action. It may involve pleading, coaxing, or an appeal to moral sensibilities. The overall goal might be the same, but the avenues taken are different.

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