Posts Tagged ‘reference tools’

Today, an old tool with a twist I find useful: the visual thesaurus. My Writers of the Future editor asked for some last updates, and I got stuck on one that should have been simple but was not. 

The problem was that beta readers didn’t quite understand the meaning of the phrase I used, and I had to replace it with a completely different word that still captured a complicated feeling. I don’t usually use a thesaurus, but sometimes needs must. My computer’s built-in options don’t handle phrases well, so online I went.

A quick search led me to stumble on one with a visual, as well as a list, interface. (Has this been around forever? Probably, but it was new to me. Perhaps to you too?) Here’s an example:

Care synonyms, care antonyms – FreeThesaurus.com

Each word’s multiple meanings are clustered with related words, antonyms and links. I can always read the options as a list, of course, but I found this presentation surprisingly helpful when it came to brainstorming options.

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Photo by Aedrian on Unsplash

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Yes, yes, Google is busy building our new robot overlords, but in the meantime look at the cool stuff they do!*

In Apples Vs. Oranges: Google Tool Offers Ultimate Nutrition Smackdown, NPR’s The Salt reports that the folks at Reddit have uncovered yet another bit of excellence from our friends at Google: the nutritional comparison tool.

Cue whole minutes of searching for such face-offs as “compare sweet potatoes vs mashed potatoes”, “compare potatoes vs rice”, “compare beef vs pork”. And of course, the inevitable “compare bacon vs celery” … because the only stupid question is one you don’t ask, right?

(Strangely, “compare beaver tails vs. poutine” got me nothing, and I have to say I’m feeling a little judged right now, Google.)

If you’re interested in straight nutritional information, Google can help there too. Search for “how many carbs in french fries?” to get a summary table and handy sidebar of nutrition facts.

Thank you, robot overlords. Now I’m hungry.

* True, robot overlords are pretty cool too, in a “fictional view from afar” kind of way.

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