Five things you need to know
  • The best dictionaries today are FANTASTIC - very powerful learning tools. They help you to build up your vocabulary in a completely different way from the old dictionaries. They can also teach you about writing and many other things. Most of the best are published by these companies: Cambridge, Oxford, Collins, Macmillan and Longman.
  • The dictionary in your mobile phone is probably old-fashioned and poor quality: new technology but old (and bad) content. Most hand-held electronic translators have the same problem. You can now get excellent electronic dictionaries and there are links to some below.
  • A translating dictionary is useful but it is not enough to help you develop a better vocabulary - and learn how to use the new words. You need BOTH a translating dictionary AND an English-to-English one.
  • The best dictionaries are available both in electronic and book form. The cheapest way to buy them is to get the book and CD together. If you are going to study English seriously, it's helpful to have the book too. You may be able to download the dictionary without buying the book, but it's not always cheaper.
  • Some of the best dictionaries are now available online - free (see links below). They have many excellent EXTRA features, though. You only get these extras when you buy the dictionary. There are more extra features only on the CD-ROM. 
Some excellent dictionaries:
Free online dictionary pages: 


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