WHAT’S INSIDE AN ENGLISH DICTIONARY?
Everything. Everything you can think of and want to express in words.
In a dictionary you will find- emotions, feelings, expressions, thoughts, names, adjectives, adverbs...every sound which has a form, anything under the sun which can be expressed in words.
Dictionary use follows a peculiar way of listing words, in alphabetical order with detailed information about their meanings, pronunciations through English phonetic symbols, spellings, contextual use, and history. Try those free English Dictionary practice exercises for better understanding.
Your dictionary is going to be the most important tool to help you build your vocabulary because it will give you all the information about words. For example, you can discover:
How to spell it
What it means
What is its grammatical function?
Its history (etymology)
Syllables or Where to hyphenate or divide it at the ends of lines
Similar word/s and opposite word/s
Want to grab your dictionary and look for information about any word?
If you find extra information in your English dictionary other than mentioned here, your dictionary must be a bigger sized one.
Bigger dictionaries in English and information overload can dampen spirits with their additional information about a,’ word’, extra information such as, rules for punctuation and grammar, capitalization rules etc.
BILINGUAL AND MONOLINGUAL DICTIONARIES
Dictionaries can give word meanings in English to English (Monolingual) or English words are translated to Chinese, French, Hindi or any other language (Bilingual dictionaries)
HOW TO MAKE BEST USE OF AN ENGLISH DICTIONARY
To start with, make friends with your dictionary. Think of it as an expert companion that is there for you to check, confirm, reconfirm queries about ‘words’.
Get used to the fact that a dictionary is the most valuable tool in learning/ enhancing your vocabulary. So do not get intimidated by the number of words in it. Most dictionaries are thick with many pages.
For this special friend, keep some time aside like an hour or half an hour e.g. you can take a break from television, or go for a walk to the park with your dictionary. You can buy an electronic or pocket dictionary so that it is easier for you to carry it around.
When at home keep it at a place where you can easily view it and consult it as and when you feel like digging up meaning of a word you just met.
What will also help you in enhancing your vocabulary is to make dictionary referencing, a habit. Carry it with you wherever you go. As you get used to being with your dictionary, you will be surprised at the rewards you get, many times over.
However, in order to remember words for longer time, you will have to use new words in your interactions every time.
According to experts a word becomes part of your vocabulary after at least 7-12 encounters. Therefore the more you use the word better are your chances of Knowing it well.
WHAT ENGLISH DICTIONARY TO USE?
There are two kinds of dictionaries; dictionaries for learners and dictionaries for natives.
Dictionaries for native speakers are used by expert language users. They have more words as compared to the one for learners, but word definitions are complicated and fewer example sentences are given.
Dictionaries for learners are meant for learners of English. You should be using this one for learning vocabulary. Of course you could use, “dictionary for natives” when your learners’ dictionary doesn't list the word you are looking for.
Dictionaries come in all shapes and sizes: paperbacks, electronic, desk copies, small pocket dictionaries, simplified versions for High schools and college editions.
You can also consult online English dictionary instead of a paper one. Oxford English Dictionary (the OED), published in England, is the most famous online dictionary.
HOW TO FIND INFORMATION IN AN English DICTIONARY
In a dictionary all information is systematically arranged. All words or entries are arranged in an alphabetical order.
On top of the right and left page are “guide words”. Guide word/s on a page is the first and the last word and word definition on that page. It is easier to find words quickly by looking at the guide words printed at the top of dictionary pages.
Through guide words you can easily make out if the word you looking for is on that particular page by checking it that ‘word’ comes between these two words in the alphabet. As an example:
Suppose, you are looking for the meaning of word 'furnace', you would find it (furnace) on a page that has fungus and further as the guide words; because furnace comes after fungus and before further.
But, you were to look for fury you would have to look at the next page, because fury comes after further and in a dictionary, words appear in alphabetical order.
CHECKLIST FOR BUYING AN ENGLISH DICTIONARY
There are many dictionaries available for buying
Buy one that has easy language and simple example sentences or which is easy for you to understand and is of convenient size.
If still confused, ask for a recommendation from English expert, librarian or someone at your favorite book store.
Sometime you can find a good dictionary in a second-hand book store at a real good price. Take it. There isn't anything wrong with it, someone probably bought the latest edition or doesn't need it anymore.
At any price, a good dictionary is invaluable.
HOW TO MAKE BEST OF YOUR DICTIONARY
There are two ways you can make maximum use of your dictionary:
1) To learn random new words.
2) To learn more about word/s you meet.
In English vocabulary, a word can have more than one meaning, or spelling or sound. Therefore, if you know a word really well, chances are you will know its other variations also.
A dictionary helps you to know words in its entirety and helps gain more insight into words you already know.
Once you know a 'word'. Repeat it. Spell it, Try it on everybody. Very soon your vocabulary will increase and chances are you will not need to refer to your dictionary that very often.
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Oxford English Dictionary publishes new word updates and revised word meanings, on March, June,September and December every year. For instance, in March 2012, it added:
bit bucket n. An An imaginary trash location, example, "it fell into the bit bucket" means the data was lost.
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