Longman Dictionary Review


Longman dictionaryI have seen Longman Dictionary in action for many years and it's a powerful aid for learners of English as a second language.

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It describes English in an up-to-date, modern way.

The definitions are simple and easy to understand (for learners with a good base in English). The reason for this is that Longman mostly uses a list of 2000 common words in all of the definitions.

Here are some examples:

Abolish = to officially end a law, system etc, especially one that has existed for a long time.

Electricity = the power that is carried by wires, cables etc, and is used to provide light or heat, to make machines work etc.

Utensil = a thing such as a knife, spoon etc that you use when you are cooking.

The 3000 most frequent words in both spoken and written English are highlighted – and this is quite unique.

Furthermore, The Longman dictionary supplies:
  • Real examples of natural English

  • Help on collocations (combinations of words that are used together frequently)

  • Word focus boxes and usage notes
In addition to the book, you can get the CD-ROM, which includes:
  • All entry words pronounced in British and American English

  • 88,000 spoken example sentences pronounced

  • Over 1000 pronunciation exercises, including intonation practice

  • Listening exercises and an extensive exam practice for standard tests

  • 1 million extra example sentences from books and newspapers

  • Longman Language Activator®:

    The Longman Language Activator® gives priceless assistance in expressing yourself in English as naturally as possible.

    It takes you form a key word or basic idea, like ‘good’, and shows you how to express your idea the best. It gives more precise words or phrases with information on context and grammar structures.

    Here is an example:

    Let's say you want to express the concept of finishing. You go to the key word "Finish", where you find words with similar but more accurate meanings, such as: finish, end, be over, etc. It further explains when to use each. It uses detailed explanations and natural examples to show typical usage.

  • Longman Writing Assistant:

    A pop-up interactive tool that gives help on word choice, grammar, collocations (combinations of words that are used together frequently) and advice on avoiding common errors.
Sound pretty helpful, doesn't it? :)


Any downsides?

In some cases I've noticed Longman to be a bit lacking in the following areas:
  • Some rarer words missing
  • Some definitions being too specific and so not fully accurate


Conclusions

With that said, the Longman dictionary is a true asset. Yes, it has its downsides, but when combined with another, larger, dictionary – it can give you an up-to-date and simple picture of the English language.

Get your own copy of the Longman dictionary, or check it out online for free.

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