What to Expect in a Decent Dictionary (Part 2)
The first part looked at some information that is typically found in most dictionaries – meaning(s), part of speech, pronunciation, verb forms, and miscellaneous grammar points.
Here’s some more information you are likely to come across:
- Synonyms and antonyms
A synonym is a word that has the same meaning, or nearly the same, as another word. An antonym, on the other hand, is a word that means the opposite of another word.
Synonyms – truthful, sincere, trustworthy, straightforward, reliable
Antonym – dishonest, corrupt, deceitful, insincere, untrustworthy, unreliable
The word collocation refers to a word combination that happens naturally in a language. Learning such typical combinations is important because it broadens the scope for expressing ideas clearly.
Verb collocations – consume / eat / have / cook / make / prepare food
Adjective collocations – fast / junk / takeaway / fresh / organic / canned food
- Example sentences
Example sentences are perhaps the best way to learn how to use a word or phrase accurately in a sentence. They show us the way various grammatical features work together to form a sentence. Some dictionaries print fixed expressions or phrases in bold to help users learn faster.
The change in policy will do serious harm to our business.
Though I’m not particularly fond of my mother-in-law, I don’t wish her any harm.
I know our neighbour’s dog looks ferocious, but he means no harm.
The term register means the degree of formality associated with a word. At times, dictionaries also highlight words that are old-fashioned or offensive.
ascertain (formal) = to find out
ripping (old-fashioned) = wonderful
gaffer (informal) = an individual who is in charge of a group of people
dude (slang) = a man
bird (sometimes offensive) = a way of referring to a young woman
A lot of words have alternative spellings, depending on the version used – British English (BrE) or North American English (NAmE).
theatre (BrE) / theater (NAmE)
doughnut / donut (NAmE)
colour (BrE) / color (NAmE)
So, the next time you use a dictionary, gather different types of information that can help you better your English.
|Meaning||:||consisting of different kinds of things|
|Example||:||Tom has a box of miscellaneous items from his childhood.|
|scope (for something)|
|Meaning||:||the opportunity to do something|
|Example||:||Sally’s new job offers plenty of scope for international travel.|
|Meaning||:||rude or unpleasant|
|Example||:||Students who use offensive language in the classroom will be punished.|
|Meaning||:||describes something that can be used instead of something else|
|Example||:||Swimming is a good alternative to running when recovering from an injury|