My Favorite Writing Resources
And How To Use Them
When it comes to writing, I get by with a little help from my friends. Frequently, I find myself using the same resources when I have a writing assignment, so I’d like to share them with you. Since the multiple tabs and links on these pages can be overwhelming, I’m also going to explain how to use these two web pages to improve your writing, whether it’s academic or creative. Hopefully, these websites will become your friends, too!
You may have heard of this website, since its claim to fame is providing writers with better vocabulary to use so they sound more intelligent. When a user enters a word in the search bar, the website pulls up a list of similar words that can convey a more specific meaning than the original word. This list is alphabetical, but the strongest words are highlighted in red, the next strongest highlighted in orange, and the weaker words highlighted in yellow.
At times, writers misuse this website; they choose random words on the website to replace other words in their paper. Though making an effort to expand your vocabulary is commendable, misapplying words can leave your readers feeling confused rather than impressed or enlightened. What works better is to let the meaning choose the word instead of feeling pressure to sound more scholarly. ¹ In other words, as you look through the words, try to put your finger on what you mean rather than how you want it to sound. Another strategy is to click on the Dictionary.com tab so you become familiar with the word’s definition and understand its connotation before using it in your paper.
I also use thesarus.com in another way. Whenever a word is on the tip of my tongue, but I can’t quite remember it, I look up a word that reminds me of the general concept in thesaurus.com. Most of the time, I find the word I’m looking for, or find an even better word to replace it. This resource helps with academic writing, but the next one can help you with your creative writing.
As the name would suggest, rhymezone.com primarily assists users with finding words that rhyme. However, it has features besides this one. If you type a word in the search box and select “Lyrics and Poems,” you can see poems that use that specific word, though perhaps a standard search would work just as well. The “Mentions” function essentially does the same thing, except it broadens to quotes and poetry. Rhymezone.com also has thesaurus and dictionary functions.
The standard function of Rhyme Zone is to assist you when stuck in the middle of writing a poem. If you need to write a poem for a class, this feature can help you finish the poem much faster than having to write a list of words that rhyme. If you love using alliteration, assonance and consonance, the “Same Consonants” function may be just the thing for you, since it will pull up words that sound similar, but do not necessarily rhyme. Though the wide range of features can help, these two features are the best ones to enrich your creative writing.
Hopefully, these two websites will make academic and creative writing much easier. After I open a document to start writing, my next step is pulling up these resources so I can click over to them the moment I need them. They have become a part of my writing routine. When my brain starts to melt from trying to conjure up just the right word, these are the friendly faces I go to for help. The writing process feels unstable at times, so take advantage of these resources to help keep your footing.
¹ In “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell suggests this for people who use too many scholarly words in a row, and thus confuse the reader.
Lauren Bridgeman is a junior English education double-major. You can find her in the Speer Writing Center Wednesdays 7-8:30 PM and Thursdays 7:45-9 PM and on Zoom Mondays at 8:30 PM and Thursdays at 4 PM.