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Back June 27th, 2008 Forward
Why Dictionaries are still wonderful things...

1) Even if you have the letters in the correct order, it may not be the correct version of the word. For one example, see my prior post regarding "pique", "peak" and "peek".

2) English is a bastard language which has appropriated words from all over the place, so sometimes the tense formations of words vary from the standard pattern. As an example: "grind" or "grinding" is the present tense; future tense is "to grind"; however, the past tense is "ground".

3)"That word, I do not think it means what you think it means." Sometimes, even if the word sounds correct, or looks correct, or shows up as being the correct spelling in your spell check, it still isn't the correct word. My guaranteed "aargh, no no NO!!!" here is "taut" (means "tight") and "taunt" (which means "tease") - the two words aren't interchangeable for each other, and it's annoying when people get them muddled.

A dictionary is useful here. It not only helps you to get the spelling correct (or for those of us who are living in Commonwealth countries with word processors with USAlien spellcheckers, confirm the spelling is correct), it also helps you get the tense correct, or the actual word matched with the meaning you want. My own dictionary of choice is the Concise Oxford English Dictionary - I managed to pick up a copy a few years ago which came with a version of the whole darn book on CD, installable as a program on PC. I've since installed it onto every single PC I've used regularly. I use it when I'm spell-checking documents (it's open along with the word processor, and I double check all the words the spillchucker notifies) and I also use it when I'm not certain whether the word I'm using is the correct one in context - just type the silly thing in, and read the definition.

I appeal to as many fanfiction writers as possible - learn to use a dictionary, find a good one, and use it often. It makes your work so much more pleasant for me to read when I'm not banging my head on the table in frustration about things like "spurned my interest" (no, you wanted "spurred" there) or "taunt muscles" (*small explosion*).

Current Mood: Word Useage bitchiness Word Useage bitchiness
Back June 27th, 2008 Forward