This Thesaurus is a well-bound and weighty hard-back tome, with 800 pages, but I estimate that only about 650 are used for its prime function as a Thesaurus, with only 250,000 `alternatives and opposites' for the words. The text is a nice and readable size, with intelligent use of colour, bold, italic, indent and other formatting aids to help define the context for each element.
There are numerous other components additional to the Thesaurus; such as random box-out snippets with groupings of words on a common theme, or chunks of quotations to illustrate an occasional word, or boxes on usage for trickier words; and then there are the hundred `essays'. These `essays' are scattered randomly through the book, each one crammed or stretched onto a single page like an unfortunate traveller on Procrustes' bed.
I found the idea of the layout for the article about each word was good, and once the conventions are understood and familiar then easy to use. But the flow of searching for the word in mind was broken by too many surplus interruptions, one is almost tempted (ill-advisedly) to tear them out (as with the annoying adverts still placed in some other books).
The essays have great potential, but should be grouped together in an Appendix, or at least ordered alphabetically by topic. Grouping would free them from the constraint of fitting each on a single page, several were far too short, others a waste of space. Alphabetic order would aid finding them; but even the List of Essays by Theme (ie index) is not alphabetically sorted!
Rather than being a full-blown proper Thesaurus, it feels more like a sampler drawn from several books; a collection of essays on Style, a Dictionary, a Synonym dictionary, a Usage guide, a set of Quotations, and yes, the Thesaurus. However, by being a bit of everything it fails in its attempts at any of them, not having enough words or synonyms to justify supplanting any of my existing preferred references; the Chambers Dictionary, the Longman Synonym Dictionary, the Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage, the Elements of Style by Strunk and White, several books of quotations, and of course the excellent market leader of Roget's Thesaurus.
If one does not have any of these, then it makes a decent introduction to the joys of creative writing, but anyone who is serious about producing better English will soon move on past this Collins effort.
Why am I reviewing this if I'm unhappy with it? I feel disappointed that what should have been a great body of work has been crippled by being aimed at perhaps the wrong market, rather like having a car where top gear has been discarded because one will only be expected to drive it in slow urban traffic.
This is a fabulous resource for all those engaged in the art of crafting English in the written word. Much more detailed and informative than a standard thesaurus, it includes helpful and interesting reference sections allowing you to explore thought streams to conclusions you may not previously have reached. It's a weighty tome, and all the better for it, packed with useful insights, the sections of the use of language by authors is unique. I highly recommend this.
Well, it is a perfect book. It describes much about words which I once thought no connection at all. The printing is very attractive and the cover is cute with double colors. The dimension is within the range of my expectation. Yes, it is a meaningful book.