Stephen Sondheim is one of those composers with an enviable relationship with words. He’s an American composer and lyricist for stage and film, an academy award winner, and the recipient of eight Tony awards (more than any other composer), including the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater. I still don’t know how he came up with the lyrics for the Officer Krumpke number in West Side Story. I couldn’t stop laughing.
I think laurels like that put him up there with the best word people around. One night, when Sondheim was a guest on a talk show, the host asked him how he found the words, and, to my surprise, he said, “Well, one way is I always keep a thesaurus handy.” I couldn’t believe that Stephen Sondheim used a thesaurus! But now we can, you can, using a quick and easy way. When you’re writing in Word, right click on a word you’d like to replace, and you’ll see a new window open with “synonyms” in the options. Click that and lo and behold, a string of synonyms, right there in front of you, without ever having to leave the screen. Just click on any synonym you want and Word puts it into your text. Try it!