Sunday, 18 May 2014

The Dimwit's Dictionary by Robert Hartwell Fiske

Today's post is for all my fellow writers who also read this blog. The Tagline for the book is More than 5000 overused words and phrases and alternatives to them. This in a nutshell is what the book does. But please do not be fooled into thinking this book is simple or would not be useful. It is a pure nugget amongst many books for writers. 

The book is divided into two parts:

Part 1 - gives examples of the hackneyed phrases which have slipped into everyday English. It then goes on to explain why these are tired and outdated. It then goes on to talk about the different forms of English - uneducated, everyday and elegant - and how these can be improved. 

Part 2 - The bulk of the book is given over to this. This is where the 5000 words and phrases come in. These are provided in alphabetical order for easy reference. It is a simple matter to look up a phrase and the suggestions for words which could replace it. I am going to open up the book at random and give an example:

Feeling his oats - This is classed as a moribund metaphor. Suggested replacements - exuberant, frisky, lively peppy, vigorous, vivacious

The appendix at the end gives the top 20 Dimwiticism's (overused phrases) in the presses of the world. This is a real eye opener (that's not classed as a dimwiticism in the book: and is also a bit of fun.

So all in all an excellent resource for any writer. I have provided the links to the kindle version, however, I feel that it would be better in paperback. I have bought the paperback version. 


I am sure all my writer friends will find this book useful. I certainly have. I look forward to seeing you all back on bookaholic soon. Until then keep reading, and keep writing. 

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