Thesaurus Week at HNTWAN

It has come to our attention that certain writers have been using our book to back up the assertion that it is somehow amateurish or unnatural to use a thesaurus. We are shocked and disappointed. Because, first of all, it should not be “a thesaurus,” as if one might choose among thesauruses: there is only the thesaurus, that is, Roget’s original thesaurus. Brilliantly arranged, it is a delight, a book that one opens with a specific purpose and emerges from an hour later, head buzzing with words, and thoughts, and revelations. (It should be noted that the purpose is by now forgotten, but who cares about usefulness, after all?)

To use a dictionary style thesaurus, or worse still,, is to not use a thesaurus at all; in fact, you will come out of it knowing fewer words than you knew before. Continued use may in fact turn you into a mute husk, innocent of language, a fleshly lump with no discernible intellect–a non-writer! While some might note that this would improve your earning potential enormously, we cannot recommend it, because we would look like hypocrites.

Anyhow, to get back to the point about how we are so horribly misunderstood: depressingly often, people imagine we have said something that is wrong, like that people should never use thesauruses. Au contraire! In fact, whenever you think that something in our book might be wrong, stop. Before you read another word, try to determine where you’ve made your error by retracing your steps. Go back to that morning, or if necessary, the week before. Don’t stop until you’ve discovered the instant when you went off the tracks, even if this means going back to early childhood.

Here is the crucial step: fix your error.

Then relive your life in your mind, pausing occasionally to appreciate how much better it is now, until you find yourself again reading our book. See? We were right all along.

What we said about thesauruses is that one can abuse them.  So don’t do that.

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