HOW TO USE REFERENCE BOOKS

WHAT DOES A THESAURUS DO? A thesaurus is a dictionary of synonyms; that is, words that have similar meanings (for example: correct, accurate, exact). Sometimes it gives you antonyms (words with opposite meanings) as well.A thesaurus helps you: To find the words you need to express yourself more effectively and more interestingly To avoid repeating the same words monotonously To avoid clichés (overused expressions) To recall the word that is on the tip of your tongue To find the word that suits the genre (type of writing eg: a letter), purpose, intended audience and context of what you are writing. In different situations, the same idea might be most effectively expressed by a different word. A thesaurus helps you make the right choice. TIPS ON HOW TO USE A THESAURUS How is it arranged? The A-Z presentation of the modern thesaurus makes it simple to use. Look up the word you need a synonym for as if you were looking it up in a dictionary. Following the word you’ve looked up (the headword) you’ll find a range of synonyms to choose from. You’ll find these synonyms are arranged alphabetically.Of course, there is some variation in the way different thesauruses present information, but in many you’ll see: A distinction drawn between the possible different meanings of your headword. For example: bookcould mean “publication” or “make a reservation”. These different meanings will be numbered and the synonyms for each meaning will follow. Choose the meaning that suits you, then choose from the relevant synonyms listed. An abbreviation showing what part of speech the word is. In the example of book (above), book can be a noun (a publication) or a verb (to make a reservation). You’ll need to choose a synonym that is the appropriate part of speech for your writing. The country where the synonym might be used. For example: bonny (listed as a synonym for “good”) is used mostly in Scotland, so it’s probably not right for you. An arrow might be used to direct you to related lists of synonyms elsewhere in the thesaurus. It is important that you choose a synonym that is consistent with the style of your piece of writing. A thesaurus is a dictionary of synonyms; that is, words that have similar meanings (for example: correct, accurate, exact). Sometimes it gives you antonyms (words with opposite meanings) as well.A thesaurus helps you: To find the words you need to express yourself more effectively and more interestingly To avoid repeating the same words monotonously To avoid clichés (overused expressions) To recall the word that is on the tip of your tongue To find the word that suits the genre (type of writing eg: a letter), purpose, intended audience and context of what you are writing. In different situations, the same idea might be most effectively expressed by a different word. A thesaurus helps you make the right choice. TIPS ON HOW TO USE A THESAURUS How is it arranged? The A-Z presentation of the modern thesaurus makes it simple to use. Look up the word you need a synonym for as if you were looking it up in a dictionary. Following the word you’ve looked up (the headword) you’ll find a range of synonyms to choose from. You’ll find these synonyms are arranged alphabetically.Of course, there is some variation in the way different thesauruses present information, but in many you’ll see: A distinction drawn between the possible different meanings of your headword. For example: book could mean “publication” or “make a reservation”. These different meanings will be numbered and the synonyms for each meaning will follow. Choose the meaning that suits you, then choose from the relevant synonyms listed. An abbreviation showing what part of speech the word is. In the example of book (above), book can be a noun (a publication) or a verb (to make a reservation). You’ll need to choose a synonym that is the appropriate part of speech for your writing. The country where the synonym might be used. For example: bonny (listed as a synonym for “good”) is used mostly in Scotland, so it’s probably not right for you. An arrow might be used to direct you to related lists of synonyms elsewhere in the thesaurus. It is important that you choose a synonym that is consistent with the style of your piece of writing.

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