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Tip Tuesday #60

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where readers send in tips for fellow writers. If you'd like to share a tip, please do so. Today's tip was sent in by Thermocline, and it's another great one. Very helpful. Enjoy!

TheFreeDictionary.com is a great dictionary/thesaurus site because they provide references in classic literature of whatever word you're looking up. I really like being able to see the words in context. There are times, however, when I've wanted to check a whole phrase to be sure I am using it correctly.

Typing quotes around the phrase and entering it into a Google Books search allows you to look for that exact phrase in millions of other books. It’s great for helping to guard against clich├ęs. It’s also useful when you’re in doubt of the proper word order of your phrase or if you’ve got a tricky punctuation question. For example, “one- or two-word sentences” was giving me trouble last week. I wasn’t sure whether it was, “one or two word,” “one or two-word,” or, the big winner according to the editors of a slew of books, “one- or two-word.”



  1. Thanks for the tip. I'm needing this for my current manuscript. I'm always so worried about being cliches.

  2. Thanks for the tip. I use an online thesaurus, but I'll have to try this.

  3. What an awesome tip. I never would have thought of this.

  4. Awesome tip! I'll have to come up with a kick butt one!

  5. Good tip! I'll have to bookmark those sites. (I use www.dictionary.com and its thesaurus page, but I've never thought to do a Google Books search for phrases - great idea!)

  6. Oh, great tip! I often use the online thesaurus and dictionary. It's fast an easy. Hadn't thought to use the google books tip in that way. Cool!