Connotation and proper usage of ‘impel’

I wonder what the connotation of ‘to impel’ is. And whether I use it properly in my application for a research job.

(1) In my motivation letter I write: “After graduating summa cum laude, the fun and thrill of research impelled me to a PhD.”
(2) In my research proposal I write: “This is bothering me for a long time, and it should bother others, to the point it impels me to demystify this conundrum of definitions.”

After an initial search I judged ‘impel’ has a dramatic connotation, e.g. “financial difficulties impelled him to desperate measures”. But searching further, I found equally many examples where it does not have a dramatic connotation. I know I could reformulate, e.g. ‘drove me to a PhD’ or ‘motivated me to commence a PhD’. However, I like the terseness of the single word ‘impel’.

Your thoughts?


I don’t think "impelled me to a PhD" would be correct, since impel means "drive, force, or urge (someone) to do something". So, I would write something along the lines of "impelled me to go for a PhD"

Source : Link , Question Author : Bart , Answer Author : Nick The Dick

Leave a Comment