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Using Dictionaries Effectively to Obtain the Meaning and Spelling of Words
Use dictionaries effectively for obtaining meanings and spellings of words
Dictionary is a collection of words in one or more specific languages, often arranged in alphabetical order. We often use dictionaries to look up difficult words; when we do not know the meaning of a word. Dictionaries are organised to help us look up words easily.
For example, to look up the word ‘dormitory’ in the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary 2005, do the following:
  1. Find the section for letter D, it starts on page 336.
  2. Go through the pages of letter D slowly, as you turn the page look at the word written at the top of each page.
  3. Study the word, noting the alphabetical order. For example: page 369 has "dark" which starts with DA, Page 406 has "dig" which starts with DI; Page 430 has DO.
Finally, we reach page 436 which has “doormat.” On this page, in the right hand column the 7thentry is dormitory.
Each word defined in the dictionary is called a Head word. Head words are written in bold or using a different colour. They are followed by information about the word. Dictionaries show the pronunciation and meaning of a word. They also show how the word is used and give examples of sentences using a word; in some cases the plural form is given.
Abbreviation words
  • N-noun
  • V- Verb
  • Pt- past tense
  • Pl -plural
  • Sign- singular
  • C –countable
  • Un-uncountable
  • Prep-preposition
  • BrE-British English
  • AmE-American English
  • Sth-something
  • Conj-conjunction
In the chart below, read the words carefully and look them up in your dictionary and write down their meaning.
Grin, recruit, squad, corporal, environment, squeak, tar.
Activity 1
Listen to your teacher saying these words:

Dark, drama, cart, calm,grass
Laugh, march, path, shark, yard


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