Texas English I
Don't mess with Texas…EOC.
Words. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. Even if you're pretty sure you can make your way through life without those pesky little guys, the Texas English I End-of-Course Assessment thinks otherwise. Shmoop's guide to the exam starts with roots and definitions before setting out on a quest through different genres, texts, and writing strategies—and we'll equip you with everything you'll need to make words your friends, not foes.
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Denotation and Connotation, Using References
Understanding what a word means surprisingly involves finding two understandings. The first is the word's denotation, its dictionary definition, but words also have a juicier side called their connotation. In addition to a sometimes-dry dictionary definition, a word's connotation is the set of feelings that tag along with it. We typically categorize these feelings as either positive or negative.
The word "sweet," for example, has a generally positive connotation. If we are asked to think of something "sweet," we think of things like adorable animal videos or candy. No one really feels negative feelings about this word. Nothing that makes us think of brownies can be negative in our book.
"Saccharine," on the other hand, technically means the same thing; the denotation is the same. (In fact, saccharine is a chemical name for sugar.) Used in a literary text, though, the connotation of "saccharine" is something that is overly, out-of-control sappy. Sending Mama Shmoop roses on Valentine's Day is sweet, but writing a 70-page lyric poem about her magnificence that we sing to her while playing a harp is overkill. It's saccharine.
That didn't stop Papa Shmoop last February, though…