[Editor’s Note: This articles was written by the CTL’s Laurie Hansen.]
Writing is like cooking. Omit seasonings from the simplest recipe and your dish will disappoint. The same goes for writing. Sometimes you need a good word or two that will “kick it up to notches unknown.”
I hardly ever put a pen to paper, or should I say, lay a finger on a key, without using a thesaurus: a surplus of phrases in a flash! If anyone should appreciate this it’s NY Times’ new On Language columnist, Ben Zimmer. In fact, Ben is the executive producer of Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus, your one stop shop for the write ingredients. This interactive alternative to the thesaurus feature in Word helps you search, hunt, look-up or seek out a word. And, as Emeril would say, Bam! You get a word web chock full of flavorful expression. Thinkmap also has an audio feature that provides Standard English pronunciation for each word hub. Now that’s a recipe for success! Thinkmap is a paid service and there are online and desktop paid options. You may also sample the free trial version which includes a “limited amount of searches.”
I can’t mention Ben’s new spot at the NY Times without referring to the late, great “language maven” and On Language column founder, William Safire whose offerings once graced the pages of the Times. And, with all due respect, I am not worthy of cooking in Bill’s kitchen.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. ~ William Safire