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By the time they enter high school, most students know that a simile is a literary device used to show a similarity between two dissimilar things, and that the words "like" or "as" link the dissimilar things, as in "busy as a bee," "like a fish out of water," "as big as a house," and "fits like a glove." They know, too, that similes differ from metaphors in that metaphors dispense with "like" or "as" and get right to the point: "He's a rat." "Life is but a walking shadow." (Not all similes employ "as" or "like," as here: "On a normal day, Jennifer Capriati tends to rush through games with the haste of a short-order cook, moving from point to point without a pause.")  Continue reading...
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In Bob Greenman's "Teachers at Work" column about the value of having students appreciate and create similes, he astutely points out that while writers should avoid using a simile that is a cliche ("smart as a whip," etc.), they should also establish "a comparison with something almost any reader can picture or identify with."  Continue reading...
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We're heading back to school in the August edition of the Visual Thesaurus crossword puzzle. Figure out the hidden word chain and you could win a Visual Thesaurus T-shirt!  Continue reading...
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Edulinks

Useful sites for educators

Visualize It!

Once students have visually explored a word's semantic map by using the Visual Thesaurus, they can explore some other visual representations of a word by checking out these sites:

Tag Galaxy

WeboWord

Merriam Webster's Visual Dictionary

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In the United Kingdom, the apostrophe is rapidly disappearing from street signs. But one man has decided to take matters into his own hands.  Continue reading...
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Wendalyn Nichols, editor of the Copyediting newsletter, offers useful tips to copy editors and anyone else who prizes clear and orderly writing. Here she investigates a common colloquialism, "a whole nother..."  Continue reading...
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