What Is An Expression? Why Does It Matter?

Forms of expression

What Is An Expression? Why Does It Matter?

We express ourselves in different ways. Some prefer songs, some would rather write. Read on to find out – what is an expression? Why does it matters a lot?


What is an expression, why does it matter?

Before I highlight and briefly expound on the benefits of expression, let us begin by discussing the meaning of the word – expression.


What is the meaning of the word – expression?


The word expression is a noun. It was derived from the Latin word “exprimere” meaning “press out, express”. The word – exprimere – has evolved through the ages from “expressio” in Latin to “expression” in late Middle English. 


Oxford English Dictionary describes expression as

– The action of making one’s thoughts and feelings known.

– A look on someone’s face that conveys a particular emotion.

– A word or a phrase used to convey an idea.

– The production of something by pressing it out.

– Effect attributed to a particular gene.


Expressions, therefore, are words, images, or actions that depict our thoughts, feelings, and personality.



Forms of expression


There are various forms of expression, and some factors are responsible for our choice of mode of expression. Inherited traits, acquired skills, talents, and environment work together to determine our preferences. Here is a list of some forms of expression.

  • Writing
  • DrawingForms of expression
  • Building
  • Arts and craft
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Music
  • Singing
  • Fashion
  • Drama
  • Math
  • Games
  • Dancing
  • Public speaking and comedy
  • Cooking and baking


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Why do expressions matter?


  1. Expressions are essential tools of communication. You may want to see previous posts on communication and forms of communication. Language and non-verbal cues play significant roles in our day-to-day lives. Can you imagine a life where no one speaks a word, and everyone is void of facial expressions? My guess – is that life will be like an animated robotic movie with no audio. 
  2. Expressions help us connect. We relate more easily to what is said if the gesticulation and facial expression of the speaker match the statement. If you are trying to imagine this, think about a day you are super gorgeously dressed, and someone commented on how great you look with a blank face and a flat tone. 


Emotional expressions convey authenticity, enhance the message, and help develop trust. 


       3. Emotional expression elicits rapid responses.

 A recent study shows that humanoid robots can make some facial expressions that people can recognize but notes that people may not show automatic implicit responses to the perceived expression (Chris Frith, 2009). This response is due to a lack of the emotional component of the expression. Emotional expressions will elicit rapid responses. 

         4. Expressions help us manage our feelings and stressful situations. Some people write journals and diaries as a way of clearing their thoughts, dealing with stress, organizing, or simply having a place where they can honestly say whatever they wish to without any consequences or fears. 

         5. Expressions are important ways of conveying thoughts and feelings. Therefore, they serve as tools for social change. Social and political movements of all ages always have at least one form of expression that stands out. 

  • Martin Luther King Jr and his I have a dream speech.
  • Nelson Mandela and his subtle yet impactful stance against apartheid.
  • Theodore Roosevelt and his National progressivism ideas.
  • Idi Amin of Uganda’s leadership and accompanying death toll.
  • Fela Anikolapo Kuti’s stand against military rule and political violence using afro music.
  • The birth of social media.

These few examples show that changes require the use of expressions. The mode may differ, but the aim is the same. 


by Chinyere Nwosu


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