Monday, August 31, 2009

Some Interesting Links

While perusing my normal morning collection of random articles, I came across a couple of items I thought would be of interest to those following this blog.

The first was an article entitled Dissecting a Simile with VocabGrabber. I read this article and wondered, "What the heck is VocabGrabber?" So I went and looked it up.

VocabGrabber is pretty cool. You can drop any text you want into a text box on the web-page and have VocabGrabber analyze it. VocabGrabber will list every word, how many times it's used, and show icons indicating what subject matters the word is primarily associated with.

For instance, it showed me that the word analyze is associated with three subjects: Arts & Literature, Science, and Vocabulary.

VocabGrabber lets you filter words by the different categories; for example, you can have VocabGrabber just show those words in the submitted text that are associated with Science, or with Vocabulary, or with any combination of about a dozen different categories. You can save word lists and automatically generated sample sentences using words you select.

Best of all, VocabGrabber links to (and is part of) VisualThesaurus. You can select any word on the list and immediately see related words in a VisualThesarus graph displayed on the right side of the page. Clicking on this graph launches the full VisualThesaurus so you can easily search for related words.

Even cooler, by selecting Gallery View you can see a VisualThesarus graph for every word in the text. Clicking on any of the words causes all the sentences that contain that word to be displayed on the right side of the page so you can see how the word was used in context.

The obvious use for this tool is to have VocabGrabber analyze something you have written. This will tell you how often you are using certain words and easily look for possible alternatives to ones you use too often.

I saw another article this morning I thought people might be interested in entitled Bringing Lively Similes Into Student Writing. I think the subject of this article is self-evident from the title, so I will not elaborate further on it.

That about covers it for this morning. Have fun.

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