WordFocus.com

focusing on words and literature

Sites We Love, Links We Treasure

In the quest for the world’s best words and word related adventure, there are a number of ways one can get completely lost in the digital jungle.  To help you stay on path, complete your mission, or just enjoy the pure value of proper spelling, grammar, and communication, we’ve dug to nearly every corner of the web to bring you the best resources available.   With a few clicks of a keyboard, you may reap the rewards of any of the following  Sites We Love, Links We Treasure:

You know the drill: you’re typing away mid-sentence when you stumble upon a word too ordinary to write.  One of the best places to find a better substitute is the world’s best source of synonyms available at Thesaurus.Com.  The site is a huge resource for definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and the part of speech your searched word belongs.  Everything you could ever want to know is just one click and one entry away.

There are a billion instances where you may know the essence of the meaning behind a foreign phrase or word but may not fully be sure.  There’s a Google site (and App) for that.  And it pretty much covers every written or spoken word in nearly any foreign tongue.  Check out Google Translate. It’s a free online language translation service that converts just about everything from text to entire web pages and even entire documents.  It also offers examples of the words translated and the means of hearing the words spoken so that your tongue may wrap around a new to you language.

Two entire decades of intense work gave Noah Webster the ability to publish The Compendious Dictionary of the English Language in 1806 as a reference for the rest of us.  Webster in the process gained the understanding of the etymology of words and 26 languages.  His aspirations to standardize speech, spelling, pronunciation, and word usage was a success.  Webster’s efforts secured his spot in history as a “spelling reformer” and “shaper” of American English.  The subsequent volumes of his work carried on past his death in 1843 by George and Charles Merriam held firmly over time. Plus they are available online at Merriam-Webster complete with innovative features and the quality that only 207 years of history can provide.

The best things in life are completely free.  Granted it’s an old cliche but yet it’s entirely true.   The Free Dictionary applied this line of thought to build one of the best websites dedicated to a wealth of information about word origins, definitions, spelling, interpretation, usage, and more.  Stumbling on the spelling of a word?  Look it up at this site.  And then learn the meaning.   This site is remarkable for its coverage of all medical, law, and financial dictionaries.  Plus it has cool games, interesting facts, awesome quotes, incredible articles, and other neat word-stuff.   Additionally, it’s “Word of the Day,” “Quote of the Day,” and “This Day In History” offers a look back in time.  Ooh and a bonus:  the online forum available here is great for those with questions or who like to debate.  Genius!

One of the best resources for nearly anything you need to write (or have no option but to) is available online at the Principles of Composition.   This site hosts resources for many aspects of writing and even includes inspiration for hurdling through writer’s block.  Rather a step by step guide to improving the power of your words, this site offers guidance from the very start to polished finish.  With unique toolbars for The Writing Process, The Structural Considerations, and Patterns of Composition, this site is a fantastic source for nearly any writing project.  Plus it’s hosted by scholars!

Flex your literary jaws and take a bite out of one of the most ancient languages from which all others rest: Latin.  Despite being considered a dead language, scholars and thinkers ‘round the world still apply this ancient tongue and also use its foundations as pillars for creating new words or tracing old ones.   Best of all, the wit and wisdom of most Latin phrases is not only impressive but also timelessly fun.  For one of the most complete online sources for all terms Latin, visit Yuni’s Latin Library.  It’s phenomenal!

Crops which spring from the earth feed us and the words which spring from Quote Garden provoke and inspire us.  With an abundant source of soul and mind food, this site offers astounding, inspirational, and captivating quotes for virtually any occasion, holiday, life event, action, thought, wisdom, or author available.   The well organized collection of free quotes available at this site is updated regularly and visited by word seekers, thinkers, speakers, and scholars worldwide.  Plus the site features a Daily Harvest quote which cleverly evokes visitors’ attention.  This is a great resource for ideas which offer plenty of room for growth.

Love poems?  Want to know more about your favorite poet?  Look no further than the American foundation dedicated to celebrating the world’s best poetry: The Poetry Foundation.  For over one decade, this non-profit foundation has promoted the craft and crafters of this writing genre.  Its amazing poetry library, readings, exhibitions, seminars, and awards programs provides the basis for recognition.  This site features content based upon it’s parent company, Poetry magazine, and operates from the generosity of a $200 million dollar grant bestowed by American philanthropist Ruth Lilly during November 2002.   Poets, scholars, educators, and all others access the Foundation’s 30,000 original works and rare volumes of modern and contemporary poetry as it furthers its mission to engage, recognize, and advance the arts.

We all love the combination of great quotes and cute pictures which have seized social networks, millions of websites, and generally the entire internet.  But are they true?  How do we know?  That’s when we head to the detectives at Snopes.  This site makes dispelling fiction from fact relatively simple (provided the site has the answers).   Plus Snopes is great at providing back history, collapsing rumors, and giving our minds a bit of food.  As the ‘Net’s leading reference source for debunking myth, rumors, urban legends, and generalized misinformation, this site is a handy tool for separating the wheat from the chaff.  Finding online truth is kind of like online freedom: priceless in its own right.

Whether or not you embrace or reject current mainstream best-selling books, The New York Times Best Sellers  list is largely considered the go-to authority of notable reads.  Since April 9, 1942, the Times’ Best Sellers has steadily grown to cover and archive the most popular fiction, non fiction, hardcovers, paperbacks, children’s books, and even e-books.  With the well protected and highly secretive ranking methodology of The New York Times Book Review, the site offers  informative links to book lovers worldwide.  Plus the site offers access to the 163 year old news source straight out of heart of the Red Apple.

Since our search for word information, experiences, and adventure will never cease, if there are other sites worthy of mentioning on this list, please send an email or leave a comment.