Touchy Feely

Watch Incorrect Use of “Feel”

Guest Blog Post by Barbara McNichol

Often the words selected, either spoken or in writing, aren’t the exact fit for what you mean. Consider these sentences:

  • How many executives do what they feel will win approval?
  • The public feels certain people shouldn’t be in the workforce.

Given the context, is “feel” the correct word to express the intended meaning? No, because it doesn’t come from an emotional “feeling” source. Rather, it stems from a conviction based on experience—a place of belief. Because of this, better choices would be:

  • How many executives do what they believe will win approval?
  • The public believes certain people shouldn’t be in the workforce.

Question everything you write against the context. In particular, flag “feel” as a word to watch. Is “feel” the most precise way to convey your intended meaning? If not, find exactly the right one—think, believe, hope, or whichever is accurate.

Editor Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping business professionals add power to their pen. To assist in this mission, she offers an ongoing resource at www.WordTrippers.com.

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