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An online thesaurus to improve your writing.

In this short post we look at how Turks learning English can benefit from using an online thesaurus to improve writing and increase general vocabulary.

The thesaurus, in Turkish ‘eşanlamlılar sözlüğü‘, is one of the best tools available to improve your writing. Not only that, it’s also an productive way to increase the number of words you use actively in your daily speech.

The thesaurus, ‘a dictionary of words grouped together with similar meaning’, is familiar to any English speaker who has spent time writing essays in high school and beyond. The most famous thesaurus in the English language was compiled by Peter Mark Roget and first published in 1852.

160 years later, the thesaurus has naturally found its way online. The Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus is one that I have used for some time, and I want to recommend it to Turkısh students of English.

One of the hardest tasks when writing is to use different and varied words. For example, ‘güzel’ in Turkish is almost always translated by English learners as ‘nice’. Unfortunately, ‘nice’ and ‘güzel’ are two words that are used so often that it actually becomes a little boring to see them in writing again and again.

With this online visual thesaurus, all you need to do is type in a word, and you will see a display of all similar words in the English language. The similar words (synonyms) are grouped together and make it easy to learn a few at a time.

Secondly, as you move your mouse over each word, the online thesaurus presents a definition of the selected term and an example or two of how it is used in everyday English.

Thirdly, the online thesaurus presents different choices of word functions. If you type in an adjective, you will see nouns, verbs and adverbs with a similar meaning. This is particularly helpful for Turks studying the English language because, for example, what might be expressed with a noun in English is more usually expressed as a verb in Turkish. For example, the verb ‘sinirlenmek’ ın Turkish has no real verb equivalent in English. You must use a verbal phrase like ‘become angry’, and the online thesaurus tells you that you can also become ‘infuriated, enraged, maddened, etc.’

When writing, it’s advisable to use a wide range of vocabulary. The thesaurus helps you to locate the exact word you need and to avoid repetition. A wider choice of words and phrases is essential to maintain the reader’s interest.

Finally, the online visual thesaurus is the perfect tool to increase your active English vocabulary, For example, when you type in the word mentioned above, ‘angry’, more than 30 English terms appear in the online thesaurus. When you see these words grouped together, it’s easier to memorize them.

The ThinkMap Visual Thesaurus also has a blog, a spelling bee and a ‘word of the day’, so there’s plenty to help you on your way to becoming a wordsmith!

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