All students who just started learning the English language experienced this at least once: you see a word you don’t know, you find it in the dictionary and the translation does very little to clarify the meaning of the word. Before you venture on conversing freely in the lexicon of intellectual complexity and academic erudition, you want to get your verbs and nouns in order, and the simplicity is the key to success at this phase of your English studies. Luckily for you, there are dictionaries for beginners where every word is explained in simple and understandable terms. For example, which translation of the word surreptitious do you consider to be more straight-forward and clear:

A - acting in a stealthy way; obtained by subreption; subreptitious.

B - done in a secret way.

If you choice is A, you probably don’t have to keep reading this blog entry. If your choice is B, then you should take notice of the following websites:

Beginners English Dictionary>Beginners English Dictionary has only 1,500 words or so. The good news is that once you learn all of them, you will have no problem understanding at least 80% of the English language. Every dictionary terms comes with a sample sentence.

Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary has twice as many words as the aforementioned website, as well as many features that will be very useful for any student of English as a Second Language. You can create your personal set of flashcards and work on building your vocabulary online. Quizzes will help you test your knowledge of the language. The website also has exercises on English pronunciation which could help you master your th’s and h’s. Similar to the standard edition of Merriam-Webster, the Learner’s Dictionary has the word-of-the-day email subscription.

Wordsmyth.com has recently integrated a beginner’s dictionary into its suite of online linguistic resources. In order to use it, enter a word in the search field and choose the beginner’s level in the translation options. Vocabulary quizzes also have 3 degrees of difficulty so go ahead and start working on your English skills.

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