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English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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2 Looking up words in an English language dictionary

There are many reasons for looking up a word in the dictionary and finding a definition is just one of them. As you may need to use as well as understand new words, you may also want to:

  • learn how to pronounce the word
  • check how it is spelled
  • find words that have a similar meaning (synonyms)
  • find out what role it plays in a sentence
  • see some sentences that contain that word
  • find out which other words can be used with that word.

This information is particularly valuable if you want to use the new word in your own writing. If this word is new to you or you are not very familiar with its use, you may not know how it is used in a sentence or which words normally precede or follow it. If you need to paraphrase it or you want to find an alternative way to refer to the same meaning, you will also need to find its synonyms.

You will learn how to find this information through the following activities.