I was taking pitches this weekend, and one pitcher was summing up her story: "(Title) is dark and uplifting."
That gave me pause. The two adjectives there didn't seem similar enough to be joined by "and". I suggested that she put the word "both" in there, as that would signal that she understood the two terms are somewhat contradictory and wanted that conflict. That is, by emphasizing the "bothness," she would be signalling that she recognized and wanted the contradiction. (That is, not that she's so clueless she thought they were the same thing.
These little words are useful as they help draw attention to aspects that you might want to subtly emphasize. I was recently reading a submission where the hero and the heroine met in chapter two in kind of mysterious circumstances (and kissed), so in my head it wasn't entirely clear that they knew who each other was. Then they became betrothed (long story), and I kept asking, "Do they know that they met and kissed in chapter two?" For example, there was one scene where she's wondering if he is going to "press his affections" on her now that they're engaged, and she asks him outright, and he says, "When I kiss you, you'll have the answer to that" (or something like that). "When I kiss you?" But they've already kissed. Doesn't he remember?
Really, I asked this often enough that I think I became irritating. :) Finally the author said, "What is it I'm not doing that you think I should do?"
And I realized that if she just added "again"-- "When I kiss you again," that would be enough to signal that yes, he did remember kissing her in chapter two, that he didn't think the kissee back then was someone else entirely, and that he knew she also knew, that the kiss was part of both of their mental databases.
(Really, this is needed-- authors rather frequently forget what they've done earlier in the book. I've done it myself. When you do multiple drafts, you might think you cut out that she went to work the morning of the funeral, but in fact, you left that in there. So the reader reading that might think that you just forgot, right? And so when that verdict of "forgetting" could be applied to something you deliberately have in there, best to make it subtly clear with a signal word if you can. "No, I didn't forget. This will all make sense if you keep reading." Anyone have examples of this sort of thing I can use? :)
Twain said, The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
I think also though that adding one of these "acknowledgment/emphasis" words can make your meaning and your intent plain, yet in a subtle way. It tells the reader you do in fact know what you're doing, that you remember what you have done. Doesn't usually take much, but establishes credibility, showing that you know the import of your events and your words.