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Choosing the Best Dictionary to Improve Your English

Updated: Apr 29

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Using a dictionary

Introduction - Improve your English with a dictionary

Many people in lots of countries speak English.

Its importance continues to grow in various fields, including business, education, and communication.

If you want to improve your English language skills, a good dictionary can be your best friend. But with so many options available, choosing the right one can be a bit overwhelming.

In this article, I'll explore:

  • what you need to know when selecting the best dictionary for your needs

  • how to use it to enhance your English skills.

Why Use a Dictionary?

Dictionaries are valuable tools for anyone looking to improve their English. They offer a wealth of information,.

  • Word definitions

  • pronunciations

  • examples of their use in sentences

  • the origins of words.

Here are some big reasons to use a dictionary for your English language improvement:

Vocabulary Expansion:

Dictionaries help you discover new words to incorporate into your vocabulary.

Understanding Definitions:

Dictionaries offer clear and concise definitions.

They help you to grasp the meaning of words and their usage.

Pronunciation Guidance:

Many dictionaries include phonetic transcriptions or online audio pronunciations.

Both help you pronounce words.

Contextual Usage:

Sample sentences in dictionaries show how words are used in context, aiding comprehension.

Spelling and Grammar:

Dictionaries often contain information on correct spelling, word forms, and grammatical details.

If you want to learn a very simple and effective way to remember the spelling of any word in English (or any other language for that matter) then you should get My 'simply better' Spelling Method.

One easy lesson will teach you how.

Learn more about the Method here, and even take the opportunity to buy it to begin fixing your spelling.

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Begin today to learn how to spell better.

Word Etymology:

Understanding a word's origin (etymology) can offer insights into its meaning and usage.

Choosing the Right Dictionary

Selecting the right dictionary is crucial for your language improvement journey.

Here are some key factors to consider when making your choice:

Type of Dictionary:

Monolingual vs. Bilingual:

Monolingual dictionaries are in English.

They provide comprehensive definitions, while bilingual dictionaries translate English words into another language. Choose the type based on your language skill level and goals.

Learner's Dictionary:

These dictionaries are for language learners, and feature simplified definitions and explanations.

Specialized Dictionaries: 

This type of dictionary contains words relating to specific areas.

 Examples include: medical, legal, or technical fields.

Print or Digital:

Print dictionaries are traditional and provide a tangible reference. You can hold the dictionary in your hand and turn real pages.

Digital dictionaries are available as apps or websites.

They offer the advantage of portability and quick search functions.

You need to decide which format suits your needs and preferences.

Comprehensive vs. Compact:

Comprehensive dictionaries cover a vast range of words.

Compact dictionaries are more concise and portable.

Decide on your language goals and how often you plan to carry your dictionary.

Stay Up-to-Date:

Language evolves. New words appear all the time. Make sure your dictionary is current to stay relevant with modern English.

An Aid to Pronunciation:

Do you want to improve your spoken English?

Look for dictionaries that include phonetic transcriptions and audio pronunciations.

If you want to improve your Pronunciation, My 'simply better' Pronunciation Method will help you.

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Better Pronunciation increases your confidence.

Sample Sentences:

Dictionaries with sample sentences help you understand how to use words in context.

This is how you enhance your language skills.

Etymology Information:

Some dictionaries provide the historical origins of words.

They can be fascinating and useful for a deeper understanding of English.

Effective Use of Your Dictionary

So, you've chosen the best dictionary for your needs.

It's essential now to use it in the right way to improve your English.

Here are some tips on how to do that:

Set Clear Goals:

Determine your language learning objectives.

Are you looking to:

expand your vocabulary?

improve your writing?

enhance your spoken English?

Having clear goals will guide your dictionary usage.

Daily Practice:

Incorporate your dictionary into your daily routine.

Spend a few minutes each day looking up new words.

Or looking up word definitions can make a significant difference over time.

Keep a Vocabulary Journal:

Maintain a notebook or digital document where you record new words.

Note their definitions, and example sentences.

This will help strengthen your learning and serve as a handy reference. The simple act of writing also reinforces your learning.

Context Matters:

When using your dictionary, pay attention to how words are used in context.

Understanding the nuances - the particular ways - of when and how to use a word is crucial.

Pronunciation Practice:

If your dictionary includes phonetic transcriptions or audio pronunciations, make use of them.

Practice the correct pronunciation of words on a regular basis.

My 'simply better' Pronunciation Method will teach you how to practice your pronunciation. It's a quick and easy to learn method.

Learn Prefixes and Suffixes:

Many English words contain prefixes and suffixes. Understanding these can help you 'get' the meanings of unfamiliar words.

Make Use of Synonyms and Antonyms:

Dictionaries often provide synonyms (words with similar meanings).

And antonyms (words with opposite meanings).

Exploring these can deepen your understanding of a word's meanings.

Word Games and Quizzes:

Engage in word games and quizzes to reinforce your vocabulary. Many apps and websites offer interactive language learning tools.

Follow my Facebook page to get Quick Quizzes.

Stay Consistent:

Language improvement is a gradual process.

Stay consistent with your efforts. Don't get discouraged if your progress seems slow at times.

My 'simply better' Method is the perfect one to get to improve your English.

You will gain much needed confidence in using all your skills with a great way to practice.

Expand Your Horizons:

Use your dictionary to explore different genres (or kinds) of reading material.

Reading matter ranges from novels to newspapers.


Choosing and using the best dictionary to improve your English is a great idea.

For beginners or advanced learners, the right dictionary can be a valuable resource.

Using a good dictionary will:

  • expand your vocabulary

  • enhancing your writing

  • improve your spoken English

With the right type of dictionary, your English language skills will improve.

Used with My 'simply better' Methods, a dictionary will become your new best friend.

So, pick up your dictionary (or get one!) and go on your exciting and rewarding journey to becoming a more confident and proficient English speaker and writer.

Further Reading

To learn more about my Methods and point you to other articles that will help you improve your English in general, I encourage you to begin with this one.

© Apex English Tutoring Nov 2023 - Updated April 2024

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About Me

Hello and welcome!

My name is Michael Finemore and I am the owner-operator of Apex English Tutoring.

As an experienced English Teacher, I'm passionate about helping people turn their 'poor' English into great English, with easy and effective ways to practice.

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