Use Your Thesaurus

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Book StackToday’s post is by veteran WriteAtHome writing coach, Rhonda Barfield. Thanks, Rhonda!

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When I was growing up, referencing a thesaurus often seemed like too much effort. I had to find the thick, unwieldy tome, locate a word among hundreds of pages, and copy it manually onto my typewriter or by hand. Today, the process is effortless. I click onto my online dictionary, key in the word, and shazam! Within seconds, several word options magically appear.

Sometimes I use the thesaurus when a word choice seems off-target. Recent examples include:

  • helping me to promulgate. . . helping me to explain
  • easy to stay a juvenile. . . easy to remain a juvenile

At other times, I’ve needed a synonym to avoid repetition, such as:

  • people. . . individuals
  • concentrate. . . focus
  • achieved. . . reached
  • explain. . . describe
  • better. . . preferable

I also find it helpful when I’m trying to substitute a more precise word:

  • the quote says your idea. . . the quote expresses your idea
  • despite the good. . . despite the admirable. . .

Finally, the thesaurus offers options for replacing weak verbs:

  • babies have. . . babies possess
  • anything less is. . . anything less guarantees. . .

I reference this valuable resource many times daily. In fact, I recommend that all writers use/utilize/employ/wield/take advantage of the thesaurus.

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About the Author

Brian Wasko

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. Grace
    Grace11-29-2012

    LOVE the Merriam Webster app on my phone. I’m constantly using it (specifically for the thesaurus) when I’m writing throughout the day. It has been awesome!

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