11 October 2009

Thank Goodness for the Digital Dictionary/Thesaurus

I really don't know how they did it, those authors that had to look up thousands of words in paper thesauruses and dictionaries. You know ...  those big, chunky things that sit on a bookshelf.

What do I use if not those? My computer has a built-in dictionary and thesaurus. I keep the application window open non-stop on my primary writing machine. Always.

Not that I need to do so. Apple integrates the dictionary program into the OS so all I have to do is type my word into the computer search box, and voila, the search function finds the word in the dictionary. When I click on the search result, the Dictionary application shows me the definitions, word origin, thesaurus entries and even Wikipedia information. All in one place. And if I want to check another word, it's just a click away, making it fast and easy to pick the right word. Another plus: the paper version sits on the bookshelf not taking up valuable desk space, and is just an arm's reach away in case I do need it.

I've thought of using other thesaurus versions, like Visual Thesaurus with it's cool visual word family trees. But I can't justify the cost when I already have a pretty useful tool already built-in.

Visual Thesaurus is available on online, via subscription, as well as a desktop version. And of course there are several good online dictionaries and thesauruses to use out on the interwebs. Personally, I like the application to sit on my computer, just in case I have no internet access. But that's me.

So for those of you still thumbing through the paper copy, give the digital version a try. Maybe you'll see the benefits too. And a writer takes all the useful help he or she can find.

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