5

Would you please help me understand what are the possible differences between these sentences in terms of meaning and connotation?

She felt compelled to resign because of the scandal.

She felt impelled to resign because of the scandal.

3

A person who is impelled has been persuaded to do something (perhaps based on moral grounds) and does so at least partially of his or her own volition.

Compel implies that the person being compelled has no choice in the matter and is being coerced. For the person being compelled, the coercion is so strong that choice and morality don’t enter into it.

Impel has a sense of motion/pushing, while Compel is more of an obligation.

She felt compelled to resign because of the scandal.

This means she felt forced to resign because of the scandal.

She felt impelled to resign because of the scandal.

This means she felt the urge to resign because of the scandal

3

The two sentences are very similar. Both sentences convey the idea that the woman felt a moral or ethical obligation to resign.

The word compelled carries a stronger connotation of outside forces pressuring the woman to resign. Perhaps she was the head of a corporation that went through a major scandal and other executives put pressure on her to leave.

Impelled implies that her desire to resign was more internally motivated.

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