- For Teachers
Using a monolingual dictionary can be hard work, especially if you have to carry it all the way to class yourself! There are lots of good reasons why your teacher might want to train you in using an English-English dictionary, however, so if any of the reasons below are true for you or for your class it is probably worth listening to your teacher and putting in the extra effort. There are a few times, however, when a bilingual dictionary (e.g. a French-English dictionary or a Chinese-English dictionary) is better and you might want to insist that your teacher let you use it. These reasons are listed at the bottom.
There are a few times when monolingual dictionaries are better, such as when you are looking for something that you know the name of in your language but can't explain or draw. Words that are almost impossible to explain just in English include vegetables and other plants, and fish and other animals. If your teacher has seen that you have make a good effort to use English only as often as possible, they will trust you when you sometimes say that the only way for you to find this word is to use a bilingual dictionary.
Copyright © 2008 Alex Case
Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com