The Basics of Writing - Dictionaries

Writer's have only one resource: words. Our personal style is compromised of how we use words. Nothing more. Nothing less. If we want to change our style, we simply change the way we use words. The first obligation of a writer is to be sure their words are spelled correctly and used accurately, which makes a dictionary indispensable. There are thousands of dictionaries, many with its own specialized use. The dictionaries on these pages are for general use, with the exception of Newton's Telecom Dictionary. Newton is included here because Internet and telecommunications terms evolve rapidly, thus they may not be in standard dictionaries.

Webster's American English dictionary

This is an affordable version of the writer's most basic need: a dictionary. Although it is not as extensive as higher priced versions, it will serve when the larger tomes are not available. Light and small enough for briefcases and laptop carrying cases, this handy guide is a best buy. It includes: 40,000 words most commonly used in speech and writing, with clear definitions, pronunciation, common abbreviations, and a brief guide to punctuation.

 
Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

This popular reference is a best buy at this price. Features include a brief introduction to the English language, a history of the English dictionary, a guide to pronunciation, pictorial illustrations and synonym paragraphs with examples. A series of appendices include chemical element abbreviations and symbols, foreign words and phrases, extensive sections with biographical and geographical names, signs and symbols, and a handbook of style.

More than 215,000 definitions, with first usage date, etymology, and pronunciation, along with the definitions. In addition, there are often usage notes, synonym cross-references, illustrative quotations, variant spellings and pronunciations, regional labels, and information on capitalization, function, and inflections.

 
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language

This 2,134 page tome has 200,000 entries; nearly 4,000 pieces of blakc and white photographs, photographs, line drawings, and maps; and weighs 8.5 pounds. Its easy to use (thumb-indexing, no abbreviations or symbols to decipher) with an abundance of aids to usage, and clear and precise word meanings (350,000 entries). The 4,000-plus quotes from the likes of Shakespeare, Melville, and Updike are a bonus.

 
Newton's Telecom Dictionary : The Official Dictionary of Telecommunications and the Internet

Traffic on the Internet is doubling every 100 days. DSL, cell phones, IP (Internet Protocol) telephony, wireless networking, and e-commerce are changing the way people talk, work, shop, and do business. To stay current with the pace of innovation, Harry Newton adds and updates over 100 definitions a week. Essential for everyone who must keep up with the new technologies and concepts, this book is meant to be used every day. The Easy-to-understand definitions and mini essays make this a good reference.

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