General Writing and Grammar Help/feeling, emotion



What is the difference between "emotion" and "feeling" in English?

Thank you very much

Dear John,
Please forgive my delay in answering. Life does not always adhere to my best-laid plans and  intentions!:(

This is so difficult to explain, but I'll sure give it a go: On one hand, "emotion" is the WAY a person FEELS. So, in that sense, one follows the other, i.e., "I feel emotional." "Emotion" is a state of being, of mind, of the senses -- it doesn't have quite as many meanings as "feeling" has in the English language. A "feeling" can be a hunch, a gut instinct: "I have a bad feeling about this person," or it can describe "emotion," i.e., "I feel sadness; I feel grief" (sadness and grief are emotions). "Feeling" also employs the sense of touch, as in "This fabric is coarse; it doesn't feel good against my skin," and, to take that even further, it can refer to the sense of touch/"feeling" as in pain: "I have a sore feeling in my throat" or "I broke my leg, and it hurts" (the latter implying "feeling" in a physical way).

However, if you said, "I feel lonely," you would interpret loneliness as a feeling AND as an emotion, so sometimes they don't follow one another, but mean the same thing. But on the whole, "emotion" has fewer meanings and is a more "static" word than "feeling," which can be used in a variety of ways and therefore is a more "dynamic" word.

I know that's complicated, but I don't know how to explain it better -- I just hope I haven't confused you further!

All the best,
Catherine Van Herrin  

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