Dictionary and Thesaurus:
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One of the most helpful tools for answering questions about words or language is the dictionary. 

 A dictionary lists words alphabetically.  It gives the meaning, spelling, part of speech and pronunciation of words.  It often lists multiple definitions and how many syllables a word has.  Some dictionaries also give the word origin, antonyms, and may also use the word in a sentence.

 The most famous dictionary is Webster’s, but be careful.  The name “Webster” is not copyrighted!  Almost anyone can print a dictionary, and use the name Webster in the title.

 A thesaurus is a special word dictionary.  It gives synonyms and antonyms for words.

 Visit Dictionary.com online!  The site includes writing resources…and they even have a thesaurus!



Other Helpful Reference Tools:


 An atlas is a collection of maps.  There are atlases of the world, and atlases of specific regions.  For online help, try Infoplease. 

  Infoplease Atlas


 An encyclopedia is a book or set of books with facts on many subjects.  This tool is a good jumping off place for research, and often will direct to other helpful sources in their articles.


 An almanac is a book that offers a wide variety of information.

 The World Almanac and Book of Facts gives up-to-date information on many different subjects.  It offers statistical information and interesting facts about government, population, awards, and sports. 

 One of the most famous and longest running almanacs is the Farmer’s Almanac.  It offers advice on farming, weather predictions, and anecdotes.  Another famous almanac is Poor Richard’s Almanac, written by Benjamin Franklin from 1732-1738.

 Books of Quotes:

 When writing a paper, it is often a nice touch to add something extra.  Quotes can be valuable to show what other people have said about your topic.

 A famous book of quotations is Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.  This source lists quotations on a wide variety of subjects.  Visit them online at Bartleby.com!


  Bartleby.com:  Great Books Online

  This site (named after Herman Melville’s famous character, Bartleby the Scrivener) indexes by author, subject and title.  Among other reference sources, Bartleby offers access to the Columbia Encyclopedia, the World Factbook, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, American Heritage Dictionary and Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus.