Study Skills Dictionary

Today our topic of discussion is- Study Skills Dictionary.

Study Skills Dictionary

While dealing with a foreign language, one thing that you frequently need is a dictionary. It is very important to learn how to use a dictionary in an efficient way.


After you complete this lesson you will be able to: use a dictionary efficiently a good dictionary is an essential reference book for you to learn English. Using a dictionary efficiently can save your time and energy. Within a short time you can learn many things if you know the right way to use a dictionary.

A dictionary depicts the standard language of the community. It is usually as complete as possible. The most useful dictionary will be the one which is a current publication. Whenever you use a dictionary, pick-up an English-to-English dictionary, avoid translation dictionaries. This will help you increase your vocabulary.


Study Skills Dictionary


A good dictionary provides us with

  • a wide range of contemporary vocabulary
  • practical explanations and definitions of words in simple language many example of phrases and
  • sentences to show how a word is used
  • information on structural grammar
  • information on verb patterns and usage
  • pronunciation of a word
  • guidance on style

Situation : From a dictionary we can learn

Spelling: A dictionary shows the accepted spelling of every word that is listed in it. It also shows the spelling of irregular verb form and plurals.

Syllabic division: A dictionary provides us with the syllabic division of each word. This helps to remember the spelling and pronunciation.

Pronunciation: A dictionary tells us how a word is pronounced
and stressed.

Meaning Most words have more than one meaning. The dictionary will list the different meanings of a word providing a context for each use.

Part of speech: A dictionary indicates whether a word is commonly used as a noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, preposition or conjunction.
Usage: From a dictionary we can know whether a word is typically British or American, formal, dialectal, colloquial, archaic, poetic or slang.

Verb patterns: The dictionary supplies information on syntax and enables us to use be verbs correctly.

General information: In the appendices at the end (sometimes at the first few pages of the dictionary) of the dictionary we will find general information, such as ‘Common Abbreviations.”, “Geogra- phical Names’, ‘Shakespeare’s Works,’ ‘

A list of signs and symbols,’ ‘Roman Numerals,’ the alphabet of the Greek language,’ ‘Weights and Measures’ and so on.

Arrangement of words:

A rule is maintained in the arrangement of words in a dictionary. All entries are arranged in alphabetical order, that is from A to Z. When words begin with the same letter, they are arranged according to the second letter. If both the first and second letters are the same, they are arranged according to the third letter, and so on.


Study Skills Dictionary


How to find a word:

If you look at the top of any page in the dictionary, you will find that two words are in dark black type. They are called “Catchwords”. The word on the left is the same as the first word on the page. The word on the right is the same as the last word on the page.

When you are looking for a particular word, you can look only at the “catchwords” first. And when you come across the catchword nearest to the word you are looking for, you can take a look at that page for that particular one.

Review Questions : List the following words in an alphabetical

Mark, Emotion, Fatal, Fantastic, Jolly, Sand, People, Zebra, Swan, Titanic, Cat, Baby, Endow, Muse, Muscular, Enemy, Adverb, Mansion, Knight

Review Questions : Arrange the following words in alphabetical order.

Knacker, Kite, Knight, Kabuki, Kedgeree, Kitchen, Knave, Kraft.

Review Questions : The first two letters of the words below are the same. Put them in alphabetical order.

Escarp, especial, estaminet, esclandre.


About 85% of English words have a regular spelling. You might sometime get worried about the difference between British English and American English. However, they are not very much different. Where a difference exists you can take help of a good dictionary. It will indicate the alternative British or American pronunciation, spellings or meanings.


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English spellings usually follow some rules. Just remember:

To add a suffix to a one-syllable word with a single – followed by a single consonant, double the first consonant.

Run + er = runner sit + ing = sitting

To add a suffix to a word of more than one syllable double the final consonant of the last syllable if it ends in a single vowel followed by a single consonant and if the stress remains on the last syllable.

Begin + ing = beginning
refer + ence = reference (stress moves)
refer +-ed referred (stress remains) Drop the final ‘e’ before a suffix beginning with a vowel.

Write + ing writing believe + -able = believable

(But keep the ‘e’ in order to keep the soft sound of ‘c’ or ‘g’ before suffixes beginning with a,c, or o.courage +ous = courageous. In syllables with a long ‘e’ sound ‘i’ comes before ‘e’ except after ‘c’. believe, grief [But note: seize, leisure] For words that end with ‘y’ following a consonant, change the ‘y’ to ‘i’ before adding a suffix (except the words followed by – ing) busy +-est busiest happy-est happiest However, for the plural or third person singular present tense, change the ‘y’ to ‘ï’ and add – es. carrys carries cry + -s = cries

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