15 Nov 2011

Using monolingual and collocations dictionaries

When we corrected the homework last week, some people "complained" that the dictionary wasn't useful because it gave the same translation for different words, e.g. gain/win - "ganar"; lose/miss - "perder".

That happened because you were using a bilingual dictionary, which provides you with little more than a mere translation of the word. As you advance in your English, you should start using other types of dictionaries, such as a monolingual dictionary. There you have a lot more information, such as:

  • the contexts where each word is used (very helpful for the words mentioned above);
  • if a verb is transitive or intransive;
  • which is the verb pattern (is it followed by infinitive or -ing?);
  • if a particular noun is countable or uncountable.

Monolingual dictionary
I've been surfing the net and I've found the online version of the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (monolingual), so now you don't have any excuse for not using it!

Another extremely useful dictionary, especially for advanced levels, is the collocations dictionary which, as the name indicates, tells you which words collocate with which. To have an idea of what in consists of, here you have part of the entry for the word "awareness". It's taken from the Oxford Collocations Dictionary online!

As you can see, it provides a comprehensive list of the adjectives and verbs that collocate with that word. Use this dictionary to polish your compositions and you'll see how your writing improves considerably!

So... the next time you write a composition, make sure you combine different dictionaries, each for a different purpose!

For more information on collocations dictionaries, please check "There is life outside wordreference!"

No comments:

Post a Comment