Share this Page URL

Chapter 15. The Writer's Tools: Round Up... > Using the Dictionary: You Could Look... - Pg. 147

The Writer's Tools: Round Up the Usual Suspects 147 What do your answers to this quiz reveal? As much as possible, you should tailor your choice of writing tools to your personal needs and society's conventions. Many people are less willing to self- edit their writing when they use a pencil or pen because it takes a long time by hand and "looks messy." If you have any proficiency with typing, computers allow much greater variation in style (not to mention the advantage of spell checkers). But if you're intimidated by a computer, using one might inhibit your writing--especially if a computer has ever swallowed one of your documents! Good manners still dictate that letters of condolence, congratulation, or other personal messages be handwritten; business documents, in contrast, must be prepared on a computer. Select the method that works for you, within the constraints of society's conventions and your job. Using the Dictionary: You Could Look It Up Life was simpler in the past. Grandma had orthopedic shoes, not Rollerblades; bacon was consid- ered a healthful food. Children were seen but not heard. Okay, okay--so what if the only residents of this mythical land were Wally and the Beaver? Life might never have been that simple, but English was certainly less complex a few generations ago. The emergence of English as a global language has accelerated the speed with which it changes. Thank goodness for dictionary editors, those wonder-ful folks who help us understand the most current usage of words in the language. Actually, dictionaries give us a lot more than a list of words and their meanings.A good dictionary can be as useful as a good shrink, only a whole lot cheaper. Who You Gonna Call? Here's the information you can get from a dictionary: