Pearson Adult Learning Centre HomePearson Adult Learning Centre: Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde


editpaperCharacteristics of a Good Dictionary

A most important tool, the dictionary is a vital companion to any serious student. But, what makes for a good dictionary? According to Lindsay Taylor, "Dictionary use cannot be effective . . . unless performed with a well-structured, user-friendly dictionary."

Here are some important characteristics of a good dictionary:

Lists words in order of frequency

Definitions are clearly different from those for other words.

Usage examples follow each definition (sample sentences).

The whole dictionary is clearly organized.

Which dictionary would I recommend to students? Recently, I've been checking out the Longman's Dictionary of Contemporary English, one which includes very clear definitions and a CD Rom with many excellent features. I'm buying one myself as a professional resource.

(September 11, 2005)

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