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Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus Hardcover – 14 Jul 2012
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Oxford's American English Thesaurus is such that you won't come across as totally nonsensical even if you do abuse it, and if you know what you're doing, it could be your best friend in a way that Roget's or M-W Thesauri could never be.
This is the perfect girlfriend for Oxford's American English Dictionary.
I have yet to look up a word and not find it (as has happened with the other versions). It's formatted like a dictionary, meaning there are synonyms listed for each meaning/definition of the word, making it easy to find the *right* synonym for how you intended to use it. In addition, each definition includes a sentence (in italics) to demonstrate how the word is typically used. Personally, I find that really helpful.
It's also very comprehensive, often listing words AND phrases that I don't find in other references or from an online thesaurus (which I also frequently use, simply for convenience). I've also found that the suggested synonyms are more closely related to one another, unlike the online version which seems to cast a really wide net when it comes to synonyms. I get more accurate and more descriptive words with this book than I do with any other source.
The thesaurus also includes "extras" that ordinarily I would probably never even glance at, but in this case actually find helpful. The thematic lists are limited, but if you just need a random example (like a specific breed of dog or butterfly) then it's easier than wading through google. And, if you want to pepper your work with spiffy latin phrases or archaic words, then those lists makes it really easy to sound far more intelligent than you actually are.
And yes, I'll admit it - I've even skimmed the grammar section at the back. Damned commas.
A note on the "stories" - yes, there are lots of "notes" and "quotes" interspersed throughout the book. Personally, I enjoy them and find them informative. Most of them are just odds & ends - funky "word links" you've never heard of or clever quotes, but they're entertaining in a Trivial Pursuit kind of way and don't get in the way of looking something up. Honestly, if you take the time to read them you actually learn something and it does add to your overall understanding of whatever you just looked up - at least it does for me.
Overall, I'm more than satisfied with this thesaurus. Well worth the expensive price tag IMO.
For quick lookups, the iPhone and Mac OS versions are top notch, but having the printed edition on a close shelf is an absolute bargain for writers, professionals, or lovers of language. Also never needs recharging.