8 Ways to Use an English Dictionary Effectively

Do you think that you use the dictionaries we frequently use while learning a language correctly and effectively? Is it enough just to know the meaning of a word to know it? Have you ever thought about the details that most language learners may miss when they just look at the Turkish equivalent?

Yes, we are more likely to refer to English – Turkish and Turkish – English dictionaries to begin with; however, as we improve ourselves, you can learn words more effectively by using English dictionaries. Let's take a look at what to consider when using an English dictionary together:

First of all, you need to get a dictionary suitable for your level.

For beginners, intermediates, advanced English, etc. There are many English dictionaries such as To make things even easier, you can also turn to visual dictionaries or dictionaries containing images.

Learn about abbreviations and other information used in the dictionary you acquired. Regarding this, there is a separate section in the dictionaries and all kinds of abbreviations used in the dictionary are included in this section. For example: adj. for adjective

Since dictionaries are alphabetical, you have to go in alphabetical order to find the first letter of a word you've heard or seen. Major printed dictionaries put letters on the sides of the pages to make this job easier, so you can easily navigate to the section with the letter that the word you want to learn starts with.

After knowing the meaning and/or pronunciation of a word and not knowing the spelling, you may not realize that it is a word that you actually know the meaning of when it comes across in written form.Therefore, you must first learn how to spell words and how they are written according to their type (for example, conjugations of verbs and plural forms of nouns).In the dictionary, you will find the types of words written next to them.Words are classified as noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition, conjunction and interjection. In addition, it may be wise to consider the style of words;formal (official), dated (obsolete), slang (slang) etc.

Knowing how to pronounce a word is essential. When you open the dictionary, you will see different symbols next to the words. These symbols indicate how a word is read. The alphabet used here is IPA, the International Phonetic Alphabet; however, you may not know how to read them because they are not taught in our country and students are not interested. In such a case, the system used in dictionaries adapted for American English may be easier to acquire, or you can get help from dictionaries adapted especially for Turkey. The easiest way would be to listen to it on online dictionaries.

Definitions tell us what words mean. A word can have more than one meaning. The first definition you come across is the real/basic meaning. Because a word can have multiple meanings, you may also need to read the connotations listed to understand what meaning the word is used in.

When looking at the meaning of words, learning how to use them in a sentence will greatly help you learn and remember that word. You learn to use words in more natural contexts, as well. In addition, in cases where you do not get the definition of the word, an example sentence can be a savior.

While learning a word, learning synonyms and antonyms will also help you kill two birds with one stone. Learning a word with its opposite is one of the most effective ways to expand your vocabulary. Even if you don't understand the definition of the word, it may be easier for you to grasp if you recognize one or two of the similar and antonyms.

When you work with all these methods in mind, you will have a better chance of learning a word. We recommend that you get help from the English - Turkish dictionary only in cases where you have difficulties. Getting used to using an English - English dictionary will lead you to greatly improve yourself and your English.

In the English speaking-oriented lessons of Konuşma Kulübü, you speak English in every lesson in classes of 8 people, with an education curriculum consisting of current topics and based on CEFR criteria. Thus, you can express yourself very comfortably in situations where you need to speak English in your daily life.