1. pensmightierthanthesword

    pensmightierthanthesword Member

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    Do You Feel a Print Dictionary and Thesaurus is a Good Thing for a Writer to Have on Hand?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by pensmightierthanthesword, Jan 30, 2017.

    I would think the only reason to have a print dictionary and thesaurus is if your phone or your computer distracts you easily, but I don't see much of a need for print dictionaries and thesauruses, anymore, especially since new words come into our lexicon every couple years or so. If you buy a print dictionary or thesaurus it's likely that a new version will come out a few years later, so I don't know what practical use having a print dictionary or thesaurus would have. Do you still use a print dictionary and thesaurus? What is your reason for having a print version?
     
  2. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    I see no need to have those things in print. Maybe some people do, but I'm not one to get distracted when I'm really into something. It's pretty easy for me to stay focused on what I'm doing, or if I do get distracted, it's easy for me to pull myself back in.

    I can see how those would be useful for someone with a distraction problem, but a print dictionary and thesaurus are damn near antiquated.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  3. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I have a print thesaurus and several dictionaries but they're from before I had consistent internet access. I can't remember the last time I cracked one open, honestly.

    I will say I am fairly easily distracted but it's actually far less intrusive for me to alt-tab to chrome and look something up real quick and get back to writing than it would be for me to have to stop, step away from the computer, and look something up in a book. It'd take longer and it's more rail-switching. As far as that goes, I guess it just depends on what you find more distracting. If popping on the internet for a second is more likely to get you off track, that's a good reason to have them.
     
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  4. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

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    I can see the use of print dictionaries and thesauruses, though for me I'd rather just have an offline computer one. Nothing bugs me more than when I can't figure out the word I want and my Internet isn't working . . . and I can't spell the word correctly so I can't find it in the print thesaurus (that's why I prefer a computer one).

    So yeah, I can see them still being quite useful, just not for me, 'cause I'm a terrible spellir.
     
  5. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

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    Noooo you changed your avatar! Now I can't see that cute character anymore!:cry:

    *ahem* To stay on topic, I can definitely relate to consistent Internet issues. (is Internet supposed to always be capitalized? I was taught it is . . .)
     
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  6. G.A. Kainne

    G.A. Kainne Member

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    Without a doubt!
     
  7. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I have quite a few of both, but they are specifically for interpreters and translators. I've not cracked a dictionary or thesaurus open for creative writing in longer than I can remember. I don't really worry about the phenomenon of neologisms because large parts of any standard dictionary are in fact graveyards of dead words that hold no meaning to anyone anymore, and few neologisms are ever granted the gift of long life. They are mayflies. Here today, bright and happy, but gone by dusk. Dictionaries are - to me - historical, not instructional. In my work-work I deal with the fact that I am an occasional linguistic grave robber because people do sometimes make a fetish of peppering their writing with verbal corpses, but as regards my creative writing I prefer to remain in the land of the living. ;)
     
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  8. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Supporter Contributor

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    Now THERE'S a metaphor that's stretched to the breaking point! :p
     
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  9. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm embracing every opportunity this year. ;)
     
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  10. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I use both my Websters and Oxford paper dictionaries all the timeā€”in fact I had my Websters open this morning. I do occasionally check an online dictionary for new words, though. I've got nothing against the principle of an online dictionary, but I love using my print ones.

    The thing about an online dictionary is that one thing doesn't lead to another. I open a print dictionary, and I often get led to other words, and learn more than I intended to learn. The online one just deals with the one word you're 'looking up' and that's it.

    I also feel that there are a lot of online dictionaries out there, and I'm not sure which ones are reliable. I know I can't go wrong with my Websters (for American usage and spelling) and my Oxford (for British usage and spelling.) However, when I look up something online, I don't recognise half of the names of the 'dictionaries' and I don't know which of them are most reliable. There are discrepancies.

    I'm not sure how many actual 'new' words are appearing in our language these days (except for technologically-related ones) and how many 'new' entries are simply codifying language mistakes or slang. At what point is a dictionary going to define 'their' as an alternative form of 'there?' I wouldn't be surprised if one of them does already.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
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  11. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Oh, that's interesting, because I was going to say the opposite. I look up a word, and then I click on its synonyms and antonyms, and then I click them, and so on and so on. I'm too darn lazy to do that with actual paper pages.
     
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  12. Dnaiel

    Dnaiel Senior Member

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    You spelled "horrible" wrong.
     
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  13. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah. The apostrophe goes at the other end.
     
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  14. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Always good to have a backup plan, if you will. :p
     
  15. ddavidv

    ddavidv Senior Member

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    Use both, prefer the printed version. I tire of the pop-ups and other garbage that populate the online versions and am also too easily distracted by clicking ever onward, looking for just a bit more.
     
  16. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    I never used a thesaurus. I always felt that if I didn't know the word well enough to remember it, I had no right to use it. I think I made this determination when I was editing something one day and had to look up several words I'd written.
     
  17. Brindy

    Brindy Senior Member

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    I also like my big paper dictionary, it's one of my prized possessions. I use the Internet to check the spelling of words I know I want to use, online thesaurus for alternatives and that often has me clicking on more words, although I am often careful to check for eng/us versions. But I love just opening my paper dictionary at a random page and reading through sections. I learn lots of new info this way.

    When I recently divorced and had to seriously downsize everything 2 things I never hesitated over keeping was my dictionary and my atlas. Love them both.
     
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  18. G.A. Kainne

    G.A. Kainne Member

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    As anyone should! Dictionaries are how you improve your vocabularies. You should never feel ashamed of looking up anything in order to further educate yourself. It's the versatility of words that allow us to more beautifully paint the picture of our stories...
     
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  19. Bill Chester

    Bill Chester Active Member

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    The alternative to on-line or paper is a dictionary right on your hard disk. I use WordWeb. It's instantaneous, has audio pronunciation in either British or American English and also references a multitude of dictionaries on-line.

    Any word in almost any document can be defined by positioning the cursor and a Crtl right-click on the mouse. There is a free version available, too. Synonyms and antonyms and lots of other valuable info.
     
  20. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Honestly, I can't remember the last time I needed a dictionary or thesaurus for anything.
     
  21. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    Certainly not for words we don't know, but sometimes I search for similar words with widely different connotations, especially for titles, loglines, and the like.
     
  22. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I don't really use the a thesaurus to find new words, it's more of a way to find that perfect word that's right on the tip of my tongue but my brain won't spit it out.

    "What's that word? Like when you're sad. But not too sad, and not about anything in particular. You just kinda...got the blues? Dammit, it starts with an M why can't I think of the word AAAAAAAARGH"

    goes to thesaurus dot com and enters "sad"

    "Melancholy! That's it, that's the word!"

    proceeds to continue with literary masterpiece
     
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  23. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    I mainly use it here, really. The web gives me the heebees with US/UK spelling, I get so claustrofounded. Sometimes I do find a word, obsess about it a while, but that's not happened since refulgent.
     
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  24. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Funny you say that... I used mine today, haha...
     
  25. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

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    Thank you SO MUCH! I've wished and looked for an offline computer dictionary/thesaurus since I got my computer.
     

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