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« Saturday Self-Indulgence I | Main | Octavia Butler, RIP »

Sunday, 26 February 2006


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I tell my students if they feel they must use a thesaurus, then please use Roget's, and not Bill Gates's.

Scott Eric Kaufman

I'm not sure Roget's is an improvement. That's what I used to compose this. Word's certainly worse, but Roget isn't good. My complaints, I realize, aren't original. But I've never graded this many essays in so short a period before, so they seem necessary.

Also, by popular request this has now been cross-posted to the Valve.

Finally, I should add that I don't feel like I wrote the above so much as crafted it. Sure, I chose the words, but I was looking for oddity, alliteration and assonance, all of which is easier to find with a thesaurus than without. I only mention that because what I had that kid proclaim cracks me up in ways your own jokes shouldn't:

"Scrutinize my incomparable prose if you don't accredit me!"

That slays me. I was just replacin' words. But damn that makes me laugh.


Well, you certainly couldn't have composed it with Word. 'Cause the choices just aren't so pretty-n-fancy.

The Little Womedievalist

That's it, Ceph, you've now officially written the most beautiful thing I've ever read. I stand, in my stylish yet affordable socks, completely amazed.


So dude, is this what our essays have driven you to?

Adam Kotsko

I read a scholarly book, of roughly 150 pages, which was like that the whole way through. The same problems afflicted him as afflict beleaguered undergrad thesaurophiles -- mainly a complete lack of any concept of the different shades of meaning and semantic range of any given "fancy" word, leading to a haze of inexactitude, hovering over every page like poison gas. It convinced me that that particular press does not employ editors at any level.

Mike Schwartz

The deleterious effects of exploiting a thesaurus.

Is it ironic, pathetic, or both that I had to use a dictionary to read Scott's post?

Alex Leibowitz

Is that from Joyce?

Alex Leibowitz

Is that from Joyce?

Scott Eric Kaufman

No, it isn't.

But it could be.


You'll love this webcomic then:


David Moles

It vexes me in the extreme that I encountered no obstacle in assimilating this disquisition.

(Maybe it would take undergraduate grammar and logic to bring home the full horror.)

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