General Writing and Grammar Help/Connotations


Respected Jerry,

This is not at all a homework question. You thought that I am sending you a homework question and you didn't answer. Anyway, this isn't a homework question. I want to know the connotations about some words. I am re-asking my question. This question is about the words crafty, sly, and cunning. I want to know that are these words always used in a negative connotations or are they used positively, too?

For example,

"Jamie was crafty enough to escape from the gang."


"Jamie was cunning enough to escape from the gang."

"God was crafty/cunning so he schemed against the enemies of his people."

So the words crafty, sly, and cunning are always used in a negative connotations or are they used positively, too?

Thank you.


The two Jamie sentences both show the positive side of craftiness. By his stealth, he achieved a positive result (escaping from harm).

In the last quote, the words "schemed against the enemies" connotes a negative image so I would call it negative. How can scheming ever be positive?

Jerry Leone  

General Writing and Grammar Help

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Jerry Leone


I`ve taught writing or some aspect of the English language for nearly 35 years. I can answer nearly any question on grammar, usage or meanings of words above dictionary usage. An avid crossword fan and writer, I can also answer questions about business presentations and resumes.


I have worked with words all my life as a teacher of the language and as an amateur and professional writer. Communication is a vital force in my life and everyone else's.

Sigma Delta Chi, NY Press Association, NY Publishers Association

BA in English from the University of Buffalo, MEd in English from SUNY Buffalo, MA in English Literature from SUNY Buffalo. Course work in Journalism from Syracuse Univ., in Linguistics from Rutgers Univ. and Journalism from Univ. of Texas and Ohio Univesrity.

Awards and Honors
Chancellor's Award for Excellence Teaching SUNY, Distinguished Teaching Award SUNY Morrisville, Who's Who in American Journalism Education

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