Dictionary is a Great Tool for Everyone

 By: JR Paquet
Whether it's online, or a book on the desk, a dictionary is a useful and exciting tool.

The most obvious use is to look up the meanings of words. To improve your learning experience, first try to guess what the word means from context. For example, from the sentence, "He paddled down the river in a coracle," you can guess that a coracle is probably a small boat. You then can use the dictionary to learn specifically what sort of boat a coracle is.

Sometimes a word isn't as easy to guess. In the novel Mansfield Park, for example, the characters look out over, and are constrained by, a "ha-ha." From context, a reader could gather only that a ha-ha forms some sort of barrier. Turning to the dictionary, we find that a ha-ha is a sunken fence. With that knowledge, the passage now makes sense.

Dictionaries are also helpful for spelling. This seems odd at first. How can you look up a word if you don't already know how to spell it? The dictionary allows you to check your guesses. For example, many spellers are certain that an eating establishment starts with the letters R-E-S-T, but get lost after that. Starting by looking up R-E-S-T-A will quickly bring you to the proper spelling, R-E-S-T-A-U-R-A-N-T.

A dictionary also help us to avoid using the wrong homonym in a sentence. If a writer is unsure if the driver stops a car with breaks or brakes, looking up both words steers the user away from mistakes.

Another embarrassing error is pronouncing a word incorrectly. Both desktop and online dictionaries have special symbols that explain how a word is pronounced. Online dictionaries often have the bonus of a sound file that enables you to hear the word pronounced correctly. Cache, for example, is often mispronounced as "ca-SHAY." The proper pronunciation, you'll learn, is "cash."

Entries in the dictionary also tell us how nouns are properly pluralized. A pair of desert plants, for example, are cacti, never cactuses. We are guided in verb tenses as well, such as when to use "hanged" versus "hung" as the past tense of "hang."

Many dictionaries also teach us the histories of words, which is not just interesting by itself but helps us to understand why words are spelled and pronounced the way they are. If we look up the word "buffet," for example, we learn that when it's pronounced "BUFF-et," it comes from Middle English buff, meaning "hit." When it's pronounced "buff-FAY," it comes from an obscure Old French word. As you study, you start to see patterns in how words from different origins are spelled and pronounced.

Dictionaries are flexible, multi-purpose tools for any speaker or writer.
loading...
Author:
Artice Source: http://www.articlesphere.com

Related Articles in Languages


People interested in the above article are also interested in the related articles listed below:

German and English have some similarities with elements of both Latin and Greek in them. They contain many cognates which are words that remain similar in both languages. However there are false friends lurking around corner, a word that sounds similar in English might have nothing to do whatever you might think it means.
Rhyme is an interesting part of language which can be used in a variety of different ways. Often, it is used in poetry to make a point. However, one can also make a catchy slogan by using humorous words to create a message. Rhyme is an essential part of the English language and we use it all the time, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. What is rhyme? That is a very good question, and in this guide, we will provide an in-depth analysis of Rhyme and its purposes.
When looking up words for writing essays, reports, books, or articles, people will often times have a few resources handy, in order to help with writers block, creativity, grammar, and clarity. Most often, the resource list will include a regular dictionary, note cards, a thesaurus, some other reference material, or just a computer with internet access. The best resource for writers is some form of referencing aid. So knowing that every person who sits down to write is different and will have a different reason for writing is a key concept. The next noteworthy item is that most people don't always understand their resources. A most common misunderstood resource is the thesaurus.
loading...

More in Languages

Excellent, Larry. Thank you for taking the new article directory technology and making it work to the max. I encourage everyone to keep contributing and contributing regularly. I can attest to the fact that this site is already a strong directory in a field of many. Kudos to Larry!

Matthew C. Keegan
The Article Writer

 

I find it a delight to use both as an author and a publisher. It is full of nice little surprises that make the whole process of writing, reading and publishing articles a complete delight. This is one that comes out tops and beats the rest hands down.

Eric Garner
Managing Director
ManageTrainLearn

 

I did a Google search and came across your site. It was exactly what I was looking for and was elated to find such a broad range of articles. As I am launching a free magazine in a small town in Florida, I wanted to be as resourceful as possible while still being able to provide some content that is interesting and well written. Your site has all the variables in the mix. Excellent Site hitting all the notes in the scale sort of speak.

Mo Montana
Florida, USA

Article Topics

 
Copyright © 2005 - by Larry Lim, Singapore - Article Search Engine Directory at ArticleSphere.com™
All Rights Reserved Worldwide. All Trademarks and Servicemarks are the property of the respective owners.
ArabicBulgarianCatalanChinese (Simplified)Chinese (Traditional)CzechDanishDutchEnglishEstonianFinnishFrenchGermanGreekHaitian CreoleHebrewHindiHungarianIndonesianItalianJapaneseKoreanLatvianLithuanianNorwegianPersianPolishPortugueseRomanianRussianSlovakSlovenianSpanishSwedishThaiTurkishUkranianVietnamese