The man who created Roget’s Thesaurus, Peter Mark Roget, was born on January 18, 1779, a date loquacious scholars celebrate as National Thesaurus Day. (Thanks, Alex E., for the heads-up. I had no idea this was a thing.) Though my research failed to unearth the authority who had the power to make such a declaration, it seems like a nice thing to remember the retired doctor whose passion project helps us all sound a bit more erudite.
Care to celebrate the unofficial holiday in class this week? Introduce students to Roget, hand out a few actual thesauruses (or thesauri – apparently, either is correct) and lead a little word play. Maybe rewrite one word per line of a poem you just studied? Change up the words of a platitudinous pop song?
You could also view this winsome clip from Friends:
And then follow up with the Prevent Thesaurus Abuse team activity. Click here to download a free copy of the worksheet and answer key that encourages students to unpack overloaded sentences. While I appreciate Roget’s contribution to our writing toolbox, students also need to resist the urge to indulge in too much of a good thing.
What else could we do to mark the day? Leave your ideas for everyone in the “reply” box below!
Illuminate on, everyone.