The thesaurus. An excellent book. Something every writer can make use of. So often, I find myself falling into the habit of using the same five adjectives in my writing. This is why the thesaurus has become my best friend. To use an online version, I simply control click, and choose “look up in dictionary.” With a simple click on the thesaurus option, I can find the ideal word. I pinpoint a synonym for an overused word and instantly change the feel of the sentence I’m writing. For writers using a PC, a right click on the specified word should bring the same result.
Consider this example of a tolerably well written passage:
We are camping and finding it very fun. We had a good hike, and went back to the camp site for a big fire. I brought my sleeping-bag outside, and fell asleep under the shining stars.
The words used in this passage : very, fun, good, big, etc., are fine words. However, general, much-used words are like exclamation marks. The more you use, the less effect they have. So use them sparingly, and it will prove your point better.
Let’s try to revise the passage above. We’ll replace the broad-termed adjectives with explicit ones to make the sentences more graphic.
I’ll replace the word very with exceptionally. Other synonyms include: extremely, exceedingly, and immensely.
Instead of the word fun, which is vague and over-used, we’ll replace it with a synonym. Here are a few to choose from: amusing, entertaining, pleasurable, enjoyable. I’m going to select enjoyable.
Instead of the word good, let’s go with superb. We’ll replace the word big with colossal. Even verbs and nouns benefit from a thesaurus. We’ll change finding to discovering, brought to dragged, and fell asleep to drifted off.
The adjective shining can be altered to gleaming. By revising a few words, look how different the passage below is from the previous one!
We are camping and discovering it to be exceptionally enjoyable. We had a superb hike, and went back to the camp site for a colossal fire. I dragged my sleeping-bag outside, and drifted off under the gleaming stars.