Online writing tool Phrase Thesaurus, which claims to be the largest database of English phrases on the internet, is expanding its collection of phrases and expressions to include American English.

The site was developed by a team at Sheffield Hallam University as a searchable database of common English-language phrases, and now contains more than 14,000 entries.

The site is mostly used by the media industry - particularly journalists, advertising executives and copywriters - who need help composing snappy headlines. Users pay an annual fee of £28 for individual use or £70 for a group. Current subscribers include the BBC, Channel 4, the Independent and Condé Nast.

"The database works very well for journalists working under pressure," said Gary Martin, managing director of Phrase Thesaurus.

"I don't think the database encourages journalists to be lazy or to use clichés - it's just a tool. How well it is used comes down to the skill of the journalist using it."

The team is concentrating on expanding the database over the next few months. Major events, such as the invasion of Iraq, often create new phrases and as two-thirds of the site's subscribers are now based in the US, the team is working with a colleague in the US to add American phrases.

Subscribers can also add new phrases to the database.

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See also:
Phrase Thesaurus:
Sheffield Hallam University:

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