Scratch Pad Apr 26

I am wearing my RED SHOES today!

Also, it is my father’s birthday. Happy birthday, Dad!

“baton: a stick used by a conductor to help control the performance of a group of musicians”. I laughed, envisioning a conductor whacking away at a group of musicians desperately trying to follow the sheet music.

I’m using all the same words in a definition, I just… move them around a bit to make things clearer. And I add punctuation. (Mostly.)

I can’t decide between getting the two-volume shorter Oxford dictionary, which is a selection from the complete OED, and the Compact OED, which is the 20-vol complete dictionary in one volume, in microscopic print on thin thin paper used with a magnifying glass. The completeist geek in me wants the Compact, but the Shorter would probably be more practical. The price isn’t that much of a factor, as I can get a secondhand Compact for around the same price as a new Shorter. (I love eBay and abebooks; sure, it’s the previous edition, but how much has changed, and do I really need to pay another three hundred dollars for a new edition?) I’m really leaning towards the Compact because of its completeness; I look up archaic words a lot. (Who, me? Word geek? Never.)

One of my biggest tasks is making sure the tense of the definition matches the tense of the word. Life is very exciting, I tell you. Satisfying, though.

It appals me that a dictionary doesn’t understand the that/which differentiation.

Have I mentioned lately that PUNCTUATION COUNTS? Sometimes necessary punctuation is missing; other times there are extraneous commas in places they have no business occupying. Maybe someone was trying to make up for the lack of commas elsewhere by putting on after every second word in certain definitions.

Nothing like finding misspelled words in the dictionary. Not in the definitions; the actuals words themselves. Five so far. I’m hoping it’s an importation error.

“A large bird that feeds on dead animals from South America” is not the same thing as “a large bird from South America that feeds on dead animals”. Sentence structure ALSO COUNTS.

Um. I’m talking to myself again. I’d take a break but I promised this would be done by tomorrow afternoon and, well, it might not be. (Checks status.) Just less than halfway through. Nope; maybe Monday morning.

Huh. Did more than I thought today. Still not certain this will be finished by tomorrow afternoon, but I can sure as hell try.

5 thoughts on “Scratch Pad Apr 26

  1. jan

    Having used both the Shorter and the Compact OEDs regularly, here’s my $0.02.The Shorter is much, much more usable. Smaller, lighter, easier to take off the shelf and open. The pages are thicker so you don’t worry so much about tearing them when you turn them, and the typeface is large enough to read without a magnifying glass. The Compact is great for geek value, but the Shorter is usable as your every day working dictionary, which, IMO the Compact is not. If you’d like to ‘test drive’ my Shorter on Saturday, you’re very welcome to.

  2. Maia

    Have you read “The Professor and the Madman: A tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary”?

    It was written by Simon Winchester.

    I understand the appeal of a paper version of the OED however, have you ever considered subscribing to their online version?

  3. Talyesin

    Given that you have A) cats and 2) a son, I foresee a misplaced magnifying glass and a frustrated journal entry chronicling this event…

    But most importantly A). They are, after all, eeeeeeevil.

  4. Owldaughter Post author

    Maia — I’ve skimmed it; it wasn’t what I wanted it to be, alas. And I considered the online subscription when it became available and discarded it, because to use it I’d have to turn the computer on. The book is always available. :)

    Tal: The magnifying glass comes in a drawer in the slipcase, which would reduce (but not eliminate) potential loss.

    Jan: Pretty much the argument I’ve been giving myself, but all those words I’d losing! I will take a look at your Shorter though, to get a better idea of what’s included.

  5. steve

    I have the Compact, and it’s gathering dust in a corner because I never find the child-free time or space to consult it. Go for the Shorter.


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