1. For centuries, the word “gay” meant happy and carefree. In the 1950s and 1960s, the word took on the connotation of “homosexual.” Today, if you look up gay in the dictionary, “homosexual” is one of the primary definitions. This is a classic case of a connotative meaning becoming a denotative meaning. (Hint: If you tend to confuse the terms, think “D, as in Dictionary.”) Can you think of any other connotative meanings that have become accepted as denotative, or dictionary meanings? Why do you think that change took place?
2. Words can also be used to hide or disguise meaning. Words that are ambiguous or abstract can interfere with effective communication. Take the expressions, “She is beautiful,” or “He is handsome,” for example. The words “beautiful” and “handsome” are both abstract and vague, and there are probably as many definitions as there are people in this class. If you wanted to convey that someone is beautiful or handsome (take your pick), how would you go about convincing your reader? What kind of words would you use, and why? Keep in mind that people can’t “see” abstracts in their mind’s eye, and you want your reader to see what you have seen.
3. Read the article in Ch. 3 titled, “Pharmaceutical Ads: Good or Bad for Consumers?” on page 97 in your textbook. What prompted the author to look into the issue? What did he discover? What was his conclusion? Finally, what do you think about pharmaceutical advertisements and why?