Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 1,618
    #1

    look up a/ the dictionary

    I think we can use the phrase "look up a/ the dictionary", but in many of China's examination papers, it is regarded as a wrong choice. Could you tell me if at all we can use it? Thank you.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #2

    Re: look up a/ the dictionary

    I would normally expect to say "Look it up in a/the dictionary!" OR "Check the dictionary".


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #3

    Re: look up a/ the dictionary

    I think we'd all be interested to hear what the examination papers say is the 'correct' choice! Would you be kind enough to add it to this post?
    Thanks.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Feb 2005
    • Posts: 2,585
    #4

    Re: look up a/ the dictionary

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    I think we can use the phrase "look up a/ the dictionary", but in many of China's examination papers, it is regarded as a wrong choice. Could you tell me if at all we can use it? Thank you.
    I can't think of a context in which you could use it. I would agree with Anglika. (You could also say e.g. "consult a dictionary".)

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 1,618
    #5

    Re: look up a/ the dictionary

    This is one of the questions with "look up":
    If you don't understand some words in the book, you can ____ a dictionary.
    A. refer to B. read C. look up D. check (The given answer is A.)

    The following is taken from one of the Chinese-published dictionaries--A DICTIONARY OF ENGLISH PHRASAL VERBS(1982):

    look up5: consult (a reference work, etc) in order to find out information): If you wish to have further information about the matter, look up this book.

    I thought we ccould say 'look up a dictionary' just according to this expanation and sample sentence. And this dictionary is compiled by one of China's most famous professors of English.

  1. Senior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Malaysia
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 823
    #6

    Re: look up a/ the dictionary

    Hi there,

    In Cambridge Dictionary, there is an explanation on 'look something up'

    look sth up (INFORMATION) phrasal verb [M]
    to try to find a piece of information by looking in a book or on a computer:
    If you don't know what the word means, look it up in a dictionary.

    So the object of 'look up' should be the 'word' or 'information', but not the dictionary.

    pete


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #7

    Re: look up a/ the dictionary

    The following is taken from one of the Chinese-published dictionaries--A DICTIONARY OF ENGLISH PHRASAL VERBS(1982):

    look up5: consult (a reference work, etc) in order to find out information): If you wish to have further information about the matter, look up this book.




    Interesting. It is a highly colloquial usage. To me that means "look this book up in the catalogue".

    I would still prefer "look them/it up in ..." for instructing you to consult a reference work for a meaning or explanation.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 1,618
    #8

    Re: look up a/ the dictionary

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    I think we'd all be interested to hear what the examination papers say is the 'correct' choice! Would you be kind enough to add it to this post?
    Thanks.
    L. G. Alexander: New Concept English 2 --IF YOU CAN DO THIS TEST GO ON TO UNIT3 -- Special Difficulties -- b. Speech Marks:

    I spend more time looking up the dictionary than reading the book.

  2. Monticello's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Feb 2009
    • Posts: 455
    #9

    Re: look up a/ the dictionary

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    L. G. Alexander: New Concept English 2 --IF YOU CAN DO THIS TEST GO ON TO UNIT3 -- Special Difficulties -- b. Speech Marks:

    I spend more time looking up words in the dictionary than reading the book.
    Hi joham,

    As others have already posted above, to "look [something] up in a dictionary" is a colloquial phrase (i.e., you'll often hear it in common speech). It appears that -- judging from the multiple choice answers provided, together with the given correct answer -- the designers of the test you have quoted seem to frown upon colloquialisms.

    When you do use this phrase -- "look up [something] in the dictionary" -- always remember that you are not talking about "looking up" the dictionary itself, but (a) word(s).

    Finally, I'm quite sure that everyone here sympathizes with your plight about spending more time "looking [things] up ... than reading the book." Take heart. Your diligent efforts will eventually pay off.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Tamil
      • Home Country:
      • India
      • Current Location:
      • India

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 3
    #10

    Re: look up a/ the dictionary

    I would prefer the use of "look into the Dictionary", which conveys the meaning better. The purpose of using words is to communicate with others.

    Brahmanyan.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Which Dictionary
    By mohdshh in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 26-Oct-2007, 23:22
  2. Not in my dictionary
    By morning in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-Jan-2007, 13:46
  3. monolingual dictionary
    By rovi in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 17-Sep-2006, 15:20
  4. Dictionary Words
    By jack in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 21-Nov-2004, 16:18

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •