Monday, June 10, 2013

Today's Writing Tip Is When to Use I Think and I Feel

I Feel versus I Think

These two terms are often used interchangeably when they mean completely different things. Feelings are just that—emotions. I can feel angry, sad, wistful or inspired. I can also feel cold, hungry, and sleepy. I can't feel that I wasted my money going to see a stupid movie but I can think that.

Thoughts are ideas in our head. I think about current events. I think the bombings in Boston were tragic. I think I've been sitting at the computer too long.

Be conscious of these phrases. Usually, the term “I feel” is the one that's misused. We’re not likely to say, “I think I'm angry” or “I think I'm cold,” but if we do, it doesn't mean the same as if we used the word feel. “I think I'm angry” means that I'm trying to decide if I'm angry or not, whereas “I feel angry” is a declarative sentence. Likewise with “I think I'm cold.” That sentence implies that I may or may not be cold; I'm not sure. There is an uncertainty that doesn't exist with the simple statement, “I'm cold.”

This is an excerpt from Sigrid Macdonald's book Be Your Own Editor available on and Barnes & Noble.

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