Using a dictionary
Home learning focus
To revise what alphabetical order is and learn how to use a dictionary.
This lesson includes:
one video to help you revise alphabetical order
one video to show you how to use a dictionary
A dictionary is a list of words or phrases and their definitions (what they mean).
Dictionaries are arranged in alphabetical order.
They help you to spell or understand any new words, so are a fantastic tool to use to improve your English skills.
Before we look at dictionaries in more detail, let’s revise what alphabetical order means.
Now watch this short clip to see how to use a dictionary to look up an unfamiliar word.
In an English dictionary you'll find words beginning with a at the front and z at the back.
There are lots of words in the English language which begin with a so it's not just the first letter that is important. Words are organised alphabetically according to the following letters in a word too.
For example: ‘Ankle’ will come before ‘ant’.
The first two letters of both words are the same
(a and n).
The third letters are different though (k and t).
The letter k comes before t in the alphabet, so you'll find 'ankle' before 'ant' in the dictionary.
You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.
Complete these two short activities.
- Drag the words so they are in alphabetical order.
- Fill in the gaps in the sentences about dictionaries.
Complete the ‘Order, order …’ activity sheet. You will need paper and a pen to write down your answers.
It might help to write the alphabet out to remind you of the order of the letters.
If you are unsure about what any words mean, use a dictionary or an online dictionary to find the words and copy out the definitions.
Look at the list of words below. You might know some of them already.
Write down each word then look up what they mean using a dictionary or online dictionary. Copy out the definition.
There may be more than one definition for each word. Choose the one that makes most sense to you.
Now choose three of the words and use each one correctly in a sentence.
For example: The castle had been standing for well over a century.