Andrew James Whalan

Poet Blogger Writer

On Writing #2

During one unfortunate argument I was told it’s easier for you to express yourself, you know so many words. Is it really easier to say what you mean with a large vocabulary?

Nothing could be more untruthful. Knowing many words is the same as knowing only a few words: the frustration is still finding the right word. Fewer words means less chance of matching and many more words means a greater chance of mismatching.

The reflex answer to finding the right word is the dictionary. The dictionary certainly gives the meaning of the word and also some words that might fit. Obviously for more words that fit a thesaurus is better, supposedly. Neither a dictionary or a thesaurus give the sense of colour, sound and strength that a word carries.

However, as a aspiring teenage poet struggling for words, I did find a guide: Reader’s Digest Use The Right Word. Sometimes I would open it up and just read randomly. I read it every chance I could and it fascinated me. What I loved most was the sage advice about selecting one word over another to express an idea or thought.

I checked Amazon and found that both the first and second editions are way out of date.

Now my real question: Is there any publication or even web site that could provide a similar function?

2 Comments

  1. Well, http://www.thesaurus.com is the obvious one, and http://www.rhymer.com/ but with English have the largest vocabulary of any language, there is a lot of nuanced meaning available. Often the expression in simplest terms is the best, paring dwon to precisely what you mean!

  2. Well, http://www.thesaurus.com is the obvious one, and http://www.rhymer.com/ but with English have the largest vocabulary of any language, there is a lot of nuanced meaning available. Often the expression in simplest terms is the best, paring dwon to precisely what you mean!

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