Saturday, April 23, 2011

Common Writing Errors - Dictionary Use

Today, rather than discuss a grammar error, I want to discuss a discipline error.  "What?" you say! "You want to address my personal discipline?"  Well, yes.  A writer needs discipline and the first discipline he needs is to keep his dictionary handy.  The second discipline is for him to USE it!  I know, we have spell check to use these days, but  I want to encourage you to also use a dictionary.  You can use the old fashioned kind in book form or there are some very good online sites that will add the dictionary to your homepage, like iGoogle.  You might even opt for the Merriam-Webster site which has free resources.

Vintage Dictionary Art Print by littlebluebirdstudios on Etsy 

Often, when I am writing, I stop and ask my husband, "How do you spell . . . . ?"  He tells me his thoughts as I reach for the dictionary.  We confer on the word, arrive at a spelling and I go on with my writing.  It seems, sometimes that I spend a lot of time looking up suitable words to use.  But, this is a good discipline.  It helps me with my spelling, enlarges my vocabulary, and enhances my writing.  I learn something new every time I open the book.   If we use only the spell check, we are not challenging ourselves to use new words, that we can't spell, or explore new possibilities in our writing.  Just sayin'. 


Re said...

When we were growing up, if we ever asked how to spell a word, our mother would have us look it up in a dictionary. Likewise, I followed this practice with our children. Hope they continue ... I totally agree with you and will do the same with nieces, nephews, and grands.

Rona Gregory said...

I love my dictionary! I have even been known to take it to bed with me to read if I don't fancy reading my current book! Just flicking through looking for words I'm not familiar with, that feel nice to say instead of something ordinary, is really very nice! I confess I use spell check if I am in a hurry with a deadline to meet but I like to use a dictionary and a thesaurus too, just to see if there is a more interesting word I could use to convey something!

I know that I am not great at spelling that's why I check but it amazes me how many people can't spell and don't bother. My favorite right now is an advert I saw on Kijiji yesterday for 4 Hairy Potter Books. No, not a typo - 'i' is nowhere near 'r' on the keyboard! And someone else just finished a quilt to sell 'this mourning', presumably that comes with a free box of tissues?

Have a great Easter!