How expressions of love can put heart into your writing

As Valentine’s Day nears, let’s look at poems, song lyrics, even entire plays—as well as Oscar acceptance exhortations—that offer techniques and takeaways for communicators.

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How love adds heart to writing

This column normally devotes itself to clear, efficient business communication, but with Valentine’s Day coming up, a different sort of devotion seems fitting.

Watch out: Here comes Cupid’s arrow, and it’s aimed not just at romantic pursuits, but also at targets of our larger hearts—our moral, ethical and philosophical concerns and commitments.

Let’s look at examples of loving words and phrases and even entire plays. (No, these are not the only great expressions of affection, so let’s forgo the “You forgot … ” admonitions, shall we?) There are takeaways, too, including some from the Academy Awards.

For our poetry selection, let’s start with a sonnet. (Limericks often fall short in the romance department.)

Here are the first four lines, familiar to many, from a sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

It’s not hyperbole if it’s true. Offer full-throated praise when it’s warranted.

Words and music

Less soaring in its rhetoric is The Beatles’ “And I Love Her,” yet that Paul McCartney ballad is among the most-covered songs in history:

Fellow Beatle George Harrison wrote in “Something”:

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