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Today’s post is by Jessy Troy, about the awesome free online resources available for all your word swapping needs. Thesauruses can be a writer’s best friend, especially when you’re staring down pages and pages of similar words that you can’t think up synonyms for and you’ve already been awake for two days. Online thesauruses make the process of finding the right words even easier. It’s also my first time hosting a guest blogger, so welcome Jessy, and thanks for sharing!
It is one thing to speak a language, but it is another to speak it well. Part of mastering a tongue, even your own, is having a rich and varied vocabulary to draw from. Eloquence is the drive of many, and only so much of it can be gathered from books alone. It is more effective to incorporate new words into your own way of thinking or writing, taking the hands on approach.
A great way to start this process is by finding alternative words to replace the phrases you might have otherwise used. A thesaurus is all you need to do this, but which one should you use? The web has plenty of options for you to enjoy, but of the dozens available I have found these six to be the most thorough and easy to use.
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way, first. Thesaurus.com is the most popular site for this purpose on the web. It is also probably the most expansive when it comes to content. In addition to having a synonym/antonym tool, there is a dictionary, word dynamo section, reference, quotes, a translation program and a section for Spanish. Be sure to check out their Word of the Day feature, and their quizzes.
2. Big Huge Thesaurus
I originally found this site looking for story plots during a time of intense writers block I wanted to force myself out of. The majority of the site is dedicated to a search engine thesaurus that lets you put in any word and gives you a thorough explanation. When they say it is huge, they mean it. There are a ton of words offered in the results, more so than any other site I have seen. In addition, they have a whole section of prompts for writers, or for teachers to use in their classes. They even have a section for blog post ideas.
This site reminds me a lot of Thesaurus.com, though without the wider features of its competitor. It is a good place to go for a simple synonym search. There are no real frills, though they do have a term for the day and a front page with trending words. Mostly, I like the design; the colors are nice and mellow, which is a relief after hours of staring at a screen.
Reverso is mostly a translation service, like Babelfish or Google Translate, but they also have a dictionary feature that connects you with different resources around the web. You can specify if you want English for learners, a regular dictionary, and English – French conjugation or grammar. It is a great all-in-one tool for people learning English for the first time, or trying to brush up on their skills prior to a trip to an English speaking region.
There are three main tabs on this site: synonyms, antonyms and definitions. You search by putting in the word and running it for the results. It is different from other sites that allow you to browse by letter, or puts the three elements on the same page with each search. There is a browsing section, but it isn’t nearly as good as actually searching for what you want. It is the most simple site I have found, with no frills at all.
Want to help the younger generation improve their English skills? This site is filled with games for kids in different age groups. Many of them are specific to synonyms, so they can improve their vocabulary as they go. The games themselves are free, and simple flash games that anyone can play. If you look at the left hand side, you can find a ton of other games for things like context, contraction, parts of speech, oxymorons, syllables and more.
These sites can be useful tools for writers to find more ways to express themselves. They can be quite handy for SEO too! Think knowledge graphs and keyword research. And they are free!
If you know of any good sites to use as a thesaurus, let us know in the comments! Be sure to provide a link and tell us what you like about it.
By Jessy Troy
The Blue Ridge Project: A Novel
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