Monday, June 23, 2008

Top 10 Writers’ Resources on the Web

Lifehacker — a blog that focuses on techniques for increasing the productivity of your life (and software!) — recently published a list of the “Best Online Language Tools for Word Nerds”.

I’ve distilled the best-of-the-best from writer Gina Trapani’s list and added a few of my own to create my own list of the top 10 writers’ resources on the web. My selection criteria were simple: in addition to meeting the needs of people who write on a regular basis, my recommended websites had to be reliable, easy-to-use and free of cost. Here they are:

1. Google is a great first step when you’re looking for the spelling or meaning of a word. Just type “define:[word],” hit the search button and, almost instantaneously, you’ll get list of definitions. If you misspell the word, Google will helpfully ask, “Did you mean [correct spelling]?”

2. Acronym Finder is a searchable database of more than 610,000 acronyms and abbreviations.

3. Bartleby is one the most comprehensive reference libraries on the web. It allows you to search an array of books — including nonfiction, fiction, poetry and classic reference texts — all for free.

4. Common Errors in English was developed by Professor Paul Brians of Washington State University to help professionals avoid “lost employment opportunities, lost business, and titters of amusement at the way you write or speak.” It’s useful … and fun.

5. Confusing Words is great when you are trying to negotiate “confusables” (i.e., words commonly mistaken for each other, such as their, there and they’re or eminent, imminent or immanent).

6. TheFreeDictionary, another of those amazing Internet-enabled reference resources, includes medical, legal and computer dictionaries, a multilingual dictionary tool, a thesaurus, several encyclopedias and a literature reference library.

7. ThinkExist is a quotation search engine and directory with more than 300,000 quotations by over 20,000 authors.

8. Urban Dictionary is a collaborative community dictionary of pop culture and urban slang. NOTE: Because slang terms can often involve vulgarity, some listings on Urban Dictionary may be NSFW (Not Safe For Work).

9. Merriam Webster’s Visual Dictionary is an incredibly useful reference tool when you know what something looks like … but not what it’s called, or when you know the word … but can’t picture the object.

10. Visuwords not only defines words, it also allows you to see the relationships among words by way of an animated graphical node map that you navigate by clicking related words.



Technorati Tags: Lifehacker, Gina Trapani, writer's resources, Google, Acronym Finder, Bartleby, Common Errors in English, Confusing Words, TheFreeDictionary, ThinkExist, Urban Dictionary, Visual Dictionary, Visuwords, business, communications, public relations

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