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Dictionaries and thesauruses

girl holding giant dictionary above her head

English dictionaries

There are probably more than 250,000 English words. Pocket-sized dictionaries have only the most common words in them. Most English dictionaries will tell you what a word means and what class of word it is, eg a noun, a verb or an adjective.

Foreign language dictionaries

A foreign language dictionary tells you how to say a word or a phrase in a language other than your own. It does not tell you what the words mean.

I like to ride my bike.

Me gusta andar en bicicleta.

In the example above you are told how to say 'I like to ride my bike' in Spanish.

Thesauruses

A girl jumping up for the word joy

If you look up a word in a thesaurus you will be given a list of similar words that may be more suitable for what you are trying to say.

Happy

cheerful, content, thrilled, jumping for joy

Use a thesaurus to make your writing more interesting and less repetitive. Avoid using the same word over and over again.

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