Professional Business Writing Tips: Feel vs. Think

If you’re using “I feel” in your business writing, you might be weakening that writing.

Feel is a word we should use to describe a feeling. Think is a word we should use to describe an opinion or thought. You can substitute feel for think, but not the other way around. To say “I feel hungry” works, but to say “I think hungry” does not.

However, when we use feel, it sounds like we are speaking from a place of emotion. And if it looks like we are basing our thoughts or ideas on emotions, we are weakening our writing as well as our credibility at work. Compare:

  • I feel a 10% drop in productivity is alarming.
  • I think a 10% drop in productivity is alarming.
  • I feel like I’m contributing to the team.
  • I think I’m contributing to the team.

Do you see how the second version is stronger in both cases? Besides think, you can choose words like assume, suspect, conclude or believe.

Next time you’re tempted to use feel, stop for a second and choose a stronger word. Read more and be a better writer here.

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