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"Language is a powerful weapon, and in the hands of a skilled person, it can be used to manipulate others." Discuss.

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Phillip Holland eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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"Manipulate" has a negative connotation, as it implies that something negative is happening. The terms "influence" or "sway" have better connotations even though they essentially mean the thing.

Language is often used to influence the thinking and actions of others. Euphemisms can be used to downplay bad things—think of the term "casualty" instead of "death" whenever a news cast refers to a military action. The government has often used the term "military action" in order to describe events most commonly associated with war. People are opposed to war because it has a destructive connotation, and "military actions" seem smaller and less destructive.

Many people make their livelihoods from using language as a weapon. Politicians use it to demonize the other side of a debate as well as champion their own views as the best for the country. Lawyers use language to find either a way to convict the defendant or keep him/her out of prison. Salespeople use language in order to convince people...

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