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 Post subject: Galanity's Grammar: The dictionary
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:11 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:11 pm
Posts: 116
Location: On a motorcycle
The humble dictionary is one of the writer’s best resources. It provides definitions, spelling, usage, history, pronunciation, forms, and references. Of all the writer’s tools, the dictionary is most indispensable.

There are different types of dictionaries, for different usages. Let’s look at a few.

Spelling Dictionary
This dictionary just lists words, with no description at all. With the advent of word processing spell checkers, spelling dictionaries are less useful now than they used to be – if you are writing on a computer. Many writers prefer pen or typewriter; for them the spelling dictionary is a great asset. There are even shirt pocket ones for easy use anywhere.

Abridged Dictionary or College Dictionary
These are the most common types. Usually 3-4 inches thick, they contain definitions and usage of tens of thousands of words. In addition, most of them have a fascinating introduction showing the origins of the English language. Also included are pronunciation guides, accent information, and a “how to use the dictionary” section.

Unabridged Dictionary
This is mostly found in libraries, and can be a foot thick if bound in one volume. These dictionaries feature many more words, extra citations and history, and are in general more complete than Abridged dictionaries. Of course, they cost more too.

Oxford English Dictionary
The ultimate reference. Every English word is in this dictionary, along with its history, derivation, usage, and archaic usage. Most larger libraries have a set, also check local University or College libraries. The OED is available on CD, for about $300. The OED is the definitive reference of what a word really means.

Online dictionaries
These are a good free resource and spelling aid. Unlike paper dictionaries, it’s hard to search around the target word for a word that might be more accurate. Still, every writer should have several bookmarked.

Rhyming Dictionaries
As the name suggests, these list words that rhyme with other words.

Spend time with the dictionary, leafing through it, looking at words. A mechanic uses tools to do his job; a writer’s tools are words. The dictionary helps make words precise, accurate, and clear. Don’t let the dictionary collect dust!

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:46 pm 
The Scribe of Athero
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 3:20 pm
Posts: 7448
Location: FantasyFic HQ
This is a nice list, EQPlayer, and well displayed. I'd like to add another one, if I may.

Although not exactly a dictionary, it is the writer's best friend. It contains the correct spelling and pronunciation of a word, often the derivation of it as well, plus any number of words that are close in meaning to the original word. It also lists antonyms.

My favorite online thesaurus is www.thesaurus.com. You can also come up with a thesaurus right in Word if you highlight the word you'd like to find an alternative for and press SHIFT F7. I use these two features all the time, and it allows me to save myself from the horrible faux pas of using the same word twice in a sentence or more in a paragraph. I love my thesaurus!!


Don't let aging get you down. It's too hard to get back * up. ~Maxine

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