The Animal List - Understanding and Better Writing

Posted by freedomforall 11 months, 3 weeks ago to Books
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"A Thesaurus is a great tool, but the only time you should use it is to complete an already-sent mental signal, e.g. you’re staring at the word decorated, know it’s wrong, and flip through the book to remember you really meant festooned. (Festooned is a great word.) If you use a Thesaurus to pick a word from scratch, it’s almost guaranteed to end up a false note. Dr. Peter Roget, an obsessive who made lists to cope with depression, was aiming for utility, not cool, when he made his synonym-finder. He can still help with basics like glacial over slow or intrepid instead of brave, but even he never hoped to get you to lively. A lifetime of reading better writers is the only sure way to develop an ear for the right word in the right spot, but a few short cuts exist."

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