The play on words and the humble art of persuasion

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What is a “play on words” and how often do we use it to intrigue or convince other people of our views?








“Thriller or comedy?” -Justina asked.

“I choose the comedy.” -Answered her boyfriend after thinking about it

“I’m glad, honey.”

– “I’m glad you finally let me choose”…




An innocent, insignificant choice can be more than that if we take a closer look at it. The girl suggested to her partner to make a decision, and he was fully satisfied with it, but was he?






Let’s start with what persuasion actually is:


It’s a type of action that’s different from manipulation because it doesn’t affect the other person. It is worth noting that persuasion, despite the lack of harmful effects, is also used during manipulation. This art plays on the intellect and emotions.






It can be divided into three categories:


– Persuasive; which is the fairest of its kind. It consists in proving rightness or truthfulness with one’s own theory.

– Convincing; i.e. influencing the viewer. Its aim is to gain as many supporters as possible.

– Stimulation; means which motivating the viewer towards a cause or idea.




Let’s get back to the message Justin said. She did the right thing for her boyfriend, who, unaware of the whole process, was sure that he had chosen the category of the film he was watching. His observations turned out to be wrong because in fact he was influenced by his girlfriend, who had previously chosen two favourite categories and allowed the choice to be made. Do you understand?






I can give you a good example:


Two friends meet for a movie night. One of them wonders what she would eat, and knowing that her friend has a completely different food preference, she decides to act for her own good. She thinks about what she could order and after thinking about it, she gives her friend two options. The friend chooses one of them, thinking that it was her who made the decision. Here the situation is identical and I’ll say something more. It is a kind of persuasion used very often in relationships or families. Think about it and pay attention to this small suggestion used among you.










And what are the mechanisms of persuasion?


1) You can free the recipient from making a choice by choosing one adequate solution, e.g. the solution to this problem is only one…

2) Creating a common reality for the sender and the recipient, i.e. using the terms “We”, “Our”.

3.) Valuing: assigning negative terms to groups to which we do not belong, and vice versa, assigning positive terms to the group we are in.

4) Increasing the level of emotions by limiting our own reflections, that is, to pay attention to the accepted morals and values.






We already know the mechanisms and maybe now we will find out what language means support the processes of persuasion?


– repetitions

– accents

– vocabulary and lexical forms

– inversions






The most important thing I left for the end of this article is the factors that influence successful persuasion:


Social affirmation:

It is much easier to convince a person to the views that are held by a larger social group, because then this claim will become socially correct and will contribute to making it easier for the other person to make this suggestion.





This can be self-appreciation, as long as we are masters in a particular field or a person perceived as a role model. It can be a scientist or a public figure who is liked and respected by our recipient. It is enough for him to show a similar position to yours.




The principle of liking:

People are susceptible to the power of persuasion in people who they like and those who are similar to themselves.




The principle of reciprocity:

The level of your power in transmitting persuasion will be greater when the person you want to influence owes you something or would be grateful for a favour.







Do you recognise some of these examples in your behaviour?

You may have thought about them and noticed them, but perhaps you could never name them.

I hope you’ve managed to do it now.

May your persuasion be even more effective and, most importantly, conscious.






There is a fairly narrow line between persuasion and manipulation. Manipulation is no longer a positive form of influence, in fact, quite the contrary. 









Aneta Sznicer

Aneta Sznicer

Founder of Mood & Read, HR specialist, copywriter, marketer, and soon to be psychologist. I help people achieve their goals by teaching social skills. Personally, I love playing the piano, dancing and singing. Anything to do with music helps me to find myself in reality. If you listen carefully, you will be able to hear your emotions. If you are able to hear them, you will know yourself even better and stronger. Thank you for visiting my website. It is a pleasure to get to know you.

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