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Using a Thesaurus

When you were in grammar school, you were taught the terms antonym and synonym. An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another word: love/hate, hot/cold, spring/fall, light/dark. Synonyms are words meaning the same thing (or nearly the same thing): light/bright, traitor/Benedict Arnold, flat/horizontal, soft/cushiony. A thesaurus is a book which lists synonyms for many words and can come in very handy for a writer. The first one you were exposed to was probably Roget’s Thesaurus. The one I like to use is the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus. If you don’t want to use a book, there are online thesauri, such as http://www.thesaurus.com and http://freethesaurus.net/. Microsoft Word has a built-in thesaurus. You can find it by right clicking on any word and going to Synonyms, and from there to Thesaurus.

So why is a thesaurus important to writers? The appropriate use of…

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