Talking about dictionaries

Learning a foreing language is one of the best things in life because it gives you the opportunity to know about other cultures and meet new people.

A useful tool to master English is to have a good dictionary at hand.

Three English language students are talking about dictionaries. They want to know what type of dictionary is the most suitable for them.

1: What do you think about monolingual online dictionaries?

2: They are the most advanced and difficult to understand.

3: But if you want to know the pronunciation of a word, they are the most useful, because they provide the American and British pronunciation.

1:Have you ever tried picture dictionaries?

2:Of course! For me, a picture dictionary is the most attractive.

3:Yes, the images make them the most interesting.

1:What about bilingual dictionaries?

2:I use them a lot when I need to look up the meaning of an unknown word.

3:I would say that monolingual dictionaries are the most popular among basic level students because they are the most useful.

1:So, which type of dictionary is the most suitable for us?

2:It all depends on our needs.

3:Lucky us! We have different options at hand.

What about you? What type of dictionary is the most convenient for you?

Writing exercise

Can you remember the adjectives mentioned by the students in the previous dialogues? Write the adjectives in the space provided.

advanced, useful, attractive, interesting, popular, suitable

What do these adjectives have in common? Not a clue? Well, why don’t you check the number of syllables in each adjective?

Tip: In English, syllables are separated by sound not by spelling.

Listening Check exercise

Listen to the pronunciation of the following adjectives to find out their number of syllables.

1 2 3

1. How many syllables?

2. How many syllables?

3. How many syllables?

4. How many syllables?

So, what do advance, useful, attractive and interesting have in common? Right! They have more than one syllable.

As you remember, the students in the previous dialogue were trying to choose one type of dictionary over others. Did you notice how they outstand the features of the dictionaries? Exactly! They added the words the most.

You previously learned that you add – est to a short adjective when you are comparing one thing or person with a group, but what happens with longer adjectives?

With more than one-syllable adjectives you just need to add the most before the adjective.

Two-syllable adjectives ending in -y form the superlative by adding -est.

happy - the happiest ( -y changes to i)

pretty - the prettiest

lucky - the luckiest



intelligent - the most intelligent
reliable - the most reliable
attractive - the most attractive

Now, let’s have some practice!

Listening Check exercise

Listen and write the superlative form of the adjective you hear.

interesting The most interesting
expensive The most expensive
famous The most famous
modern The most modern
difficult The most difficult
boring The most boring
patient The most patient
Writing exercise

Complete the sentences with the given adjective.

Google translator is the most unreliable online dictionary . (unreliable)
Word reference isn’t the most popular bilingual dictionary online. (popular)
Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary is the most useful online dictionary for advanced students. (useful)
Learners dictionaries are the most suitable for beginners. (suitable)
Printed dictionaries are the most expensive ones. (expensive)