- Fizzy Thoughts: Manual Labor

Manual Labor

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos . . . do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries–if any–do you have in your library?

I have a few, although obviously I don't use them (really, for the same reason I don't keep track of unknown words...I'm lazy). Unless Hamburger and I are playing Scrabble and someone puts down an unbelievable word. Then I'll go get the dictionary, because I hate to lose at Scrabble. And yes, it's me that goes and gets it, because he doesn't know where it is. Hamburger is in charge of all the tools, though, so it's a fair trade.

I have two dictionaries, one is a two-part set that I've had since I was a kid. I don't know where it came from, but I love it, because it has historical people in it and charts in the back that show all the kings and queens of England. But it's outdated, so I also have another dictionary that I bought two years ago during my brief foray into grad school. At that time I also had to buy an MLA or something like that guide, because for the life of me I couldn't remember how to cite anything. Come to think of it, I can't remember now, either, and I don't care. I also have a thesaurus, another remnant from high school. And I have a grammar book somewhere that I bought in a misguided attempt to educate myself. Now I'm like chartroose, and I embrace my inner ungrammatically correct self.

I also have a little dictionary at work, which comes in handy when no one in the row of cubicles I live in can even get close enough to spelling a word correctly so that spell check will help us out. And my buddy across the aisle has the thesaurus for when we need to find another way to say something...so together, we're covered here at work. As far as grammar goes, we've been known to argue with the grammar checker. I don't trust it, because once I typed in something and it put the nasty green squiggle underneath. So I changed it to what it suggested, and the green squiggle re-appeared with the suggested correction being my original phrase. It was a vicious circle for awhile until I slapped my computer upside the head and gave up.

4 comment(s):

Anne said...

Too funny, I don't trust the grammar checker either! (And the spell checker is even worse. You never know what inappropriate word it will let you get away with...just because it's spelled correctly, doesn't mean it fits the context!)

I think it's an evil plot on the part of the word processing industry...

bleeding espresso said...

I have quite a few writing books (some technical, some inspirational, all have been read and some used more frequently than others), and also a dictionary and thesaurus, although I tend to use Merriam-Webster's online version b/c it's quicker ;)

Brad (of Palma and Brad) said...

For my dictionaries, and almost every other reference, I go online at work. My favorite dictionary site is:

http://dictionary.reference.com/

You have a selection of a dictionary or a thesaurus directly from a word search, and I use the rhyming dictionary to write limericks for the greeting cards we have to sign for whatever occasion it is this week (national compensation consultants week?). You can get foreign word translations as well. It's a handy site!

trish said...

I LOVE Scrabble. And the anal part of me just has to say, Don't you know there's a SPECIAL Scrabble dictionary? You can't use just any ol' dictionary, you know!

Thanks. I feel better now. :D

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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