Choosing which dictionary to buy
A dictionary buying guide
With so many ways to access information these days, the dictionary remains one of the most reliable learning tools available. Dictionaries provide useful knowledge and meaning, and it is essential that you consider a number of factors as you decide which dictionary to buy. Dictionary features include the definition and origin of words in addition to historical and contextual explanations. When researching how to choose dictionaries, the first thing you may notice is just how many types of dictionaries there are on the market today, including electronic dictionaries. Choosing the best one for you will depend on a variety of factors, all of which are easy to understand with just a little bit of exploration.
>> Determine why you need it
The function of dictionaries in general is to explain or define something. Dictionaries hold a wealth of information that is accessible to anyone who is interested. Dictionaries are great tools to have and can be of great assistance within an educational or professional field. Deciding which dictionary to buy will depend on a variety of factors, beginning with your intended use. You'll first need to decide why you need to buy a dictionary. In order to make a dictionary comparison, you first need to determine what dictionary benefits are most important for you.
Most of the time, dictionaries are useful when you need specific facts or want to learn something about a word or subject. To figure out how to choose dictionaries for learning, you'll need to consider what information it is that you'd like to comprehend. Perhaps you'd like to improve your vocabulary or learn a new language.
Dictionaries for learners will contain additional information, such as synonyms and antonyms, to help you understand better, in addition to having a pronunciation key that instructs you on word sounds. Some dictionaries in this category will also list similar words to better describe meaning. These are factors to consider when you're deciding which dictionary to buy. For those who speak English as a second language (ESL), for instance, there are ESL dictionaries.
Another function of dictionaries is to be used as a reference guide. When learning how to buy a dictionary, you may discover that you are only interested in having a dictionary on hand to refer to for quick definitions and meaning. In this case, a standard English dictionary may be the best dictionary to buy.
Keeping a dictionary on hand for entertainment may be another reason you're interested in buying a dictionary. If you're an avid reader, having a dictionary might come in handy as you navigate wordy literature. Dictionaries themselves can function as entertainment. Certain dictionaries offer games, pictures and puzzles. Once you've determined your intended dictionary use, you must consider who will be using the dictionary.
>> Consider who will use it
While functions of dictionaries vary, so do their readability. You'll find that dictionaries are available for different ages and comprehension levels. Dictionaries made for children will feature simpler wording, examples and color pictures to help describe meaning. This allows for visual learning in addition to textual learning, which is a good way for children to learn new concepts and words.
Dictionaries for older students will resemble standard adult dictionaries, but may still contain some illustrations to supplement learning. College student dictionaries, on the other hand, contain a lot more words that are complex in nature and will supplement the vocabulary used in college level textbooks. Determining who will use the dictionary will ensure that the full dictionary benefits are received and will guide you in deciding which dictionary to buy.
>> Determine where you will use it
Another factor to consider when figuring out how to buy a dictionary is where you plan to use it. Dictionaries contain an abundance of information, and can often be massive in size. If you plan to use your dictionary on the go as you travel, or want to keep it with you at all times for quick access, this is essential to consider. While you want the dictionary features to remain, you may also want a compact, convenient-sized dictionary that will fit in your bag. A pocket dictionary may be the best dictionary to buy.
On the contrary, if you plan to use your dictionary at your place of business, you may want to consider which type of dictionary would best suit the environment. Because multiple people may use the dictionary, you'll want one that is readable to all. For example, if you're a history teacher, you'll want dictionary features that include the etymology or historical context of words, in addition to definitions.
However, if your plan is to add your dictionary to your home or personal book collection, you may want to further consider special subject dictionaries that fit your own personal interests. Size may not be a factor as you decide which dictionary to buy, but by establishing where you plan to use your dictionary, you will make sure to make the best choice.
>> Consider types of dictionaries
Next, you'll want to narrow down the type of dictionary or reference book you want to buy. Those available include thesauruses, translation books, encyclopedias, almanacs, atlases and dictionaries of standard structure. A thesaurus provides synonyms and antonyms of related words and may be an excellent tool for anyone doing a great deal of writing. For those learning another language, dictionaries with translations will be essential. Encyclopedias are reference books that include factual information on a variety of subjects. Almanacs contain statistical data regarding weather forecasts and solar system cycles. Atlases contain detailed geographical information such as maps and charts. There are many dictionaries that cover special subjects, so you must consider all factors in order to choose the appropriate one for you.
>> Consider ease of use
The last dictionary feature you should consider is its ease of use. Ease of use pertains to how easy it is for you to use and understand the dictionary. If you plan to use a thesaurus for your next college essay, you'll want to make sure you understand the synonym descriptions and symbol keys. If you're more of a visual learner, you may opt for a dictionary with illustrations and graphics. If your eyes are sensitive to font size and style, you'll want to choose a dictionary that is comfortable to read. It is important that you determine this last step before finalizing your decision on which dictionary to buy.
Once you've considered all of these essential factors, you will be informed enough to choose the best dictionary for you.