In order to learn a foreign language it is essential to be able to use a dictionary well (and so be a good independent learner by:-
...knowing the different types of words which make up sentences (verb/ noun/ adjective) ...having the skill to identify/select the correct word(s) from a dictionary ....using the grammatical information in dictionaries successfully to your advantage
Masculine – el / un Feminine – la / una A noun is an object or a thing, which can usually be preceded by ‘a’ or ‘the’ in English. E.g. Dog, Table, Bottle. Bear in mind that in the language you are studying, the word for ‘a’/’the’ depends on the gender. You can recognise these in a dictionary by the letter ‘ n ’...and in most dictionaries a m / f (/ n ) will tell you if its gender
..un gat o negr o mi herman a es alt a Las matemáticas son interesant es An adjective is a word which describes a noun. E.g. A short story, the friendly doctor, the wooden table. Remember, in a foreign language, you may have to change the endings depending on the gender of a word. You can recognise these in a dictionary by the letters ‘ adj ’...
Most verbs in Spanish end in er / ir / ar e.g. habl ar , com er , sent ir A verb is a doing or action word. E.g. do, went, will, to eat. Verbs that are in the main section of the dictionary are in the infinitive (in the form “to drink”/”to sing”) so if you find a verb in the Foreign Language, you will probably have to change the verb using the endings you have learnt in class. You can recognise these in a dictionary by the letters ‘v’/ ‘vt’ / ‘vi’...
Tip – many adverbs in Spanish end in - mente An adverb is something that complements a verb, giving details about how the action was done. E.g. slowly, punctually You can recognise these in a dictionary by the letters ‘adv’..
Use your common sense – if a word ‘feels’ wrong, it possibly is. If in doubt, look the word up in the opposite section of the dictionary.
Read carefully the information from the dictionary about the type of word it is. (Particularly important if you are looking up a word which could be used in two ways).
If a word has two or more unrelated meanings (e.g. Bat), the dictionary will generally have two separate entries for it.
Always read the examples given under the entry – you may find something useful.
If in doubt about plurals, the Spanish – English section of the dictionary (front section generally) will give this information so find your word there.
Remember that most of the time, you will not be able to use the verb as it is in the dictionary – it will need conjugating
Possibly the most useful thing about the grammar section of the dictionary are the verb tables. In some dictionaries, there is a list of verbs giving the page reference to look for. Present Indicative – actions which you are doing/or do regularly Imperfect – actions which used to happen / things which set the scene (in the past) Perfect – actions which are completed /which can be translated by “I have done/played” in English. The past participle is the ‘eaten’ / ‘done’ / ‘played’ Future – actions which you are going to do in the future / which will happen in the future Conditional – things which would happen if something else occurs e.g. I would go to the dentist if I had toothache.