In our earlier blog post, we talked about useful English-English ONLINE learner dictionaries. These online dictionaries are from famous publishing companies: Oxford, Longman, Macmillan, and Cambridge. I personally – as a language learner and a teacher – recommend you to use an online Macmillan Dictionary for the following reasons:
By the way, you can access the Macmillan dictionary online at Macmillan Online Dictionary.
1. You can learn new words by looking at the stars --> ***
Macmillan dictionary is designed to make you a strategic word learner. The dictionary will show you words that are either common/popular or not common/popular in spoken and written English. How?
Well, what you need to do is to look at stars (***). A number of stars show how often a word is used. For example, MANY has 3 stars (***), MULTIPLE has 2 stars (**) and while COUNTLESS has one star (*).
Probably, many people already know MANY because it is a common/popular word in English. MULTIPLE is also often used in speaking and writing while COUNTLESS is not used oftentimes.
Any infrequent (not common/popular) words do not have stars. They are written with black letters. For example – although it is synonymous with MANY, MULTIPLE and COUNTLESS, the word INNUMERABLE is not common/popular in speaking and writing, thus it is written in black.
Don’t believe me? Check INNUMERABLE at Macmillan Online Dictionary
Macmillan online dictionary uses STARS to help you (English learner) differentiate frequent/popular words from infrequent/not popular words. So, look at the stars and improve your vocabulary or watch the video after you read my post.
2. You can improve your vocabulary from WORD to WORD
Macmillan dictionary adds example sentences to almost every word. Words are almost always hyperlinked (by the way, word HYPERLINK is a black word). What this means is that if you do not know a word or words in an example sentence, you can check their meanings by clicking on the word(s).
Imagine, while reading the following example sentence, you realized that you do not know word REFUGEES (***):
The United Nations has supported efforts to return the refugees peacefully.
Once you click the word, you will be taken to a new page where REFUGEES is explained.
The bottom line is that you do not have to type the word in anywhere while reading an example sentence. Just click and the definition/explanation will appear on your screen.
3. You can get it Right with Macmillan Dictionary
With Macmillan dictionary, you can also improve your grammar skills. For example, the word research is never used in the plural form (researches). You should not confuse I am used to doing something with I used to do something. Never use the verb discuss with the preposition about (discuss about).
How can you learn more about these grammar rules? Well, Macmillan dictionary adds some grammar tips at the end of the most word entries. These tips are added so that people who use Macmillan dictionary do not make common grammar mistakes in their spoken and written English.
As an example, check out the Get It Right tip for research:
Long story short, if you seriously want to improve your English vocabulary, then become a strategic word learner.
You can do this by …
Question: What is ONE thing you like about the dictionary you are using nowadays?
About the author
I’m Ulugbek Nurmukhamedov. In Uzbekistan, my friends call me Ulug’bek. In the US, almost all of my friends call me Bek. I was born and raised in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Since 2004, I have been doing most of my academic work in the USA. Read more about me here.