diction - print wordy and commonly misused phrases in sentences
diction [-b] [-d] [-f file [-n|-L language]] [file...]
diction [--beginner] [--ignore-double-words] [--file file [--no-
default-file|--language language]] [file...]
Diction finds all sentences in a document that contain phrases from a
database of frequently misused, bad or wordy diction. It further
checks for double words. If no files are given, the document is read
from standard input. Each found phrase is enclosed in [ ] (brackets).
Suggestions and advice, if any and if asked for, are printed headed by
a right arrow ->. A sentence is a sequence of words, that starts with
a capitalised word and ends with a full stop, double colon, question
mark or exclaimation mark. A single letter followed by a dot is
considered an abbreviation, so it does not terminate a sentence.
Various multi-letter abbreviations are recognized, they do not
terminate a sentence as well, neither do fractional numbers.
Diction understands cpp(1) #line lines for being able to give precise
locations when printing sentences.
Complain about mistakes typically made by beginners.
Ignore double words and do not complain about them.
Suggest better wording, if any.
-f file, --file file
Read the user specified database from the specified file in
addition to the default database.
Do not read the default database, so only the user-specified
database is used.
-L language, --language language
Set the phrase file language.
Print a short usage message.
Print the version.
On usage errors, 1 is returned. Termination caused by lack of memory
is signalled by exit code 2.
The following example first removes all roff constructs and headers
from a document and feeds the result to diction with a German database:
deroff -s file.mm | diction -L de | fmt
specifies the message language and is also used as default for
the phrase language. The default language is en.
/usr/share/diction/* databases for various languages
This program is GNU software, copyright 1997–2005 Michael Haardt
The English phrase file contains contributions by Greg Lindahl
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Wil Baden, Gary D. Kline, Kimberly Hanks and Beth
This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the
Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your
option) any later version.
This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU
General Public License for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along
with this program. If not, write to the Free Software Foundation,
Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.
There has been a diction command on old UNIX systems, which is now part
of the AT&T DWB package. The original version was bound to roff by
enforcing a call to deroff. This version is a reimplementation and
must run in a pipe with deroff(1) if you want to process roff
documents. Similarly, you can run it in a pipe with dehtml(1) or
detex(1) to process HTML or TeX documents.
deroff(1), fmt(1), style(1)
Cherry, L.L.; Vesterman, W.: Writing ToolsThe STYLE and DICTION
programs, Computer Science Technical Report 91, Bell Laboratories,
Murray Hill, N.J. (1981), republished as part of the 4.4BSD User’s
Supplementary Documents by O’Reilly.
Strunk, William: The elements of style, Ithaca, N.Y.: Priv. print.,