F&M College Library

English Grammar & Writing

5 Tips for Using Dictionaries & Thesauruses

  1. Don't rely on a translator to learn new English words. Look up definitions in a dictionary to make sure you use new words correctly.
  2. Use multiple dictionaries! Comparing different definitions will help you find the best word.
  3. Check the part of speech to make sure the word fits your sentence. Adjust the word form if appropriate.
  4. Use a thesaurus to find synonyms (words with related meanings) and antonyms (words with opposite meanings); make sure to look up definitions for words you learn through a thesaurus. 
  5. Try to find out if a word is informal, slang, old-fashioned, or inappropriate, to make sure the word you choose suits the tone of your writing. 

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In general usage, a thesaurus is a reference work that lists words grouped together according to similarity of meaning (synonyms) & opposite meaning (antonyms), in contrast to a dictionary, which provides definitions for words, and generally lists them in alphabetical order

Other Online English Dictionaries

Other Online Language Dictionaries