Re: Choosing a dictionary

Subject: Re: Choosing a dictionary
From: Linda Sherman <linsherm -at- gte -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 14:52:27 -0500

Sue Kocher wrote:
> Sorry if this question has been asked a zillion times...
> But what dictionary do you use as your authoritative source, and why?
> Our Technical Editing department use Webster's Collegiate, but Corporate Communications uses American Heritage (which I also like)--we'd like to set a standard across the company but we need good reasons for advocating one dictionary over another.
> One good reason for us is that we also use the Chicago Manual of Style as our basic style guide resource for things not covered in our own in-house style guide... and the CMoS declares Webster's to be its source also. Other reasons for or against?

All dictionaries do a good job of documenting standard written American
English, which is what you're interested in as a tech editor. So unless
differences in the format or content of entries are of concern to you, I
really don't think it matters which one you use. If you're interested in
historical usage, obsolete forms, slang, alternate spellings, etc., then
it might matter.

In any case, I personally would go with whoever has the best CD-ROM
dictionary. I just don't see the need to kill trees to print reference
books any more. "Best" here would mean number of entries and ease of
use. I have no opinion on which of the currently available CD
dictionaries is best.

Linda K Sherman <linsherm -at- gte -dot- net>
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