Grammar Menu
Choosing Words Correctly

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College dictionaries are great reference sources.

A good college dictionary is more complete than online versions. Good ones include the principle parts of verbs (past tense, past participle. present participle, and third person singular present tense).
Online searches are convenient but not as complete. For a quick definition type a word into Google. Sometimes you need to type "definition" after the word. The Google definition will appear at the top. It's fast and sometimes you can click and hear the word pronounced! Using Google is quick and easy. Google will list online dictionaries, but most are not any better than what Google provides. Also, there are ads that make using an online dictionary slower.

Advantages of a good "hard copy" college dictionary over what Google provides:

You are likely to find an explanation of the parts of speech in the front portion of a good college dictionary. Also, you will find inflected forms of the word, for example, the plural form of the word, and you can see the principle parts of verbs (past tense, past participle, present participle, and third person singular present tense).

When a main entry in the dictionary is followed by "also" and another spelling, the second spelling is less acceptable than the first.

There are some usage notes provided (the usage label for "shut-eye" is slang).

You can't get a Google definition of words like: Illinois, and gather that the "s" is silent in its pronunciation.

The "hard copy" dictionary includes plural forms and past tenses (examples: the plural of "genius" is geniuses. If the verb "mimic" expresses something that happened in the past, spell it mimicked).

Don't use the word "irregardless" in a business letter; it is non-standard English.

The following plural forms in "parentheses" are correct:

Mr. Smith asked me to type five "memoranda."

Such "phenomena" are rare.
Note: Phenomenon is the singular form.

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