engVid quiz

Test your understanding of this English lesson

Test your understanding of the English lesson by answering these questions. You will get the answers and your score at the end of the quiz.
If your dictionary tells you the meaning of words without examples or descriptions, it is a ______________ dictionary.

The best dictionary for an ESL (English as a Second Language) learner is a __________________ dictionary.

The word "phonetic" means _____________.

When a word is broken down into units with individual vowel sounds, each unit is called a ______________.

According to Grand Master James, which is better: a paper or electronic dictionary?

Is English a very phonetic language?

What is a prefix?

What does the root "dict" mean?

Can a dictionary tell you how to use a word?

Can you learn how words are related by using a dictionary?

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146 Comments on “How to use your dictionary to build your vocabulary”

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So, why we should use paper dictionary and not electronic? :D

Friday, November 22nd 2013

    I think that paper one is a more relevant source.
    Pozdrowienia dla wszystkich rodaków.

    Friday, November 22nd 2013

      Using the International Phonetic Alphabet is also a big help to know how words are pronounced; but it takes some time to become familiar enough with all the phonetic symbols.

      I tried to use it on several occasions, but in the end I gave up, sorry to say.

      Useful tips for improving our vocabulary James.


      Monday, July 14th 2014

        Hi Ikaterina, I agree with your comments on James’ teaching style and personality traits.

        He’s a gifted second language teacher, that’s for sure.

        Have a great week!!!

        All the best.

        Monday, July 14th 2014

    I was wondering that too, then I found the answer in the test results :)
    “Paper — because you can learn “by accident”. Also the constant repetition makes the new information go deeper into your memory”

    Saturday, November 23rd 2013

      Exactly, I’m learn news french words following this same idea. Now, i need find one good English dictionary.

      James, can you give us any suggestion?

      Monday, November 25th 2013

    if i have a good dictionary can i get lots of vocabulary? Mr.James

    Sunday, February 9th 2014

      That still depends on how you are going to use it :)))

      Monday, March 5th 2018

    Also don’t mind…
    And one important tip James didn’t mention, that electronic dictionary, in contrast to paper, usually has inbuilt function, due to you can hear the word, wich helps you to pronounce it correctly.

    Wednesday, July 4th 2018

Thanks! I sell books for making a living. But believe me it’s difficult to use an English dictionary if you don’t know how to write a new word. When I heard first time the word “tough” I tried “taf” “taff” “tuf” “tuff” “tuph”. I’m Romanian, but after I have finished the first grade I was able to use the Romanian Language Dictionary. James, if you hear a new English word, pronounced by Texan or Australia guy, could you find that word in dictionary?

Friday, November 22nd 2013

    that’s an interesting question Geolip…

    Sunday, December 28th 2014

I have a question: what should I use: English – English dictionary or English – other language (for example my mother language) dictionary? Thank you!

Friday, November 22nd 2013

    I think you should use E-E dict as much as possible, especially with the simply words . With complex word, you could see the meaning in your language and then look at the meaning in English , it could be easier to understand . ^^ This is my way.

    Friday, January 3rd 2014

    excuse me, Maklina . Are you finnish? Can I become your friend ? I love your country very much , this is my dream . Could you tell me more about your country ?

    Friday, January 3rd 2014

i got 10 of 10 heeeeeeeeeh

Friday, November 22nd 2013

Thanks! helped a lot.
I want know, why use a paper dictionary and not electronic?

Friday, November 22nd 2013

I live in California , I just moved from Egypt as a new Immigrant, I was watching you before I came to USA. and I hope to see you face to face, California= smoking weed , and listen to rapper Snoop Dogg, see james step by step I Will be Americanized son, Lol

Friday, November 22nd 2013

    how did you improve your english basem please

    Monday, January 6th 2014

I saw Canadian English Dictionary for the first time :D I have really old English English Dictionary from TIME (I had subscribed loooong time ago). But I seldom to use them. “Waste of treasure,” isn’t it?
I have sometimes used Oxford Dictionary website and play spelling game recently. I can check my listening skill. Difficult but interesting :) I didn’t know about the root “dict.” I got 6 correct out of 10. That’s too bad for me. I should review. Thank you for your tips and great lesson, James :D

Friday, November 22nd 2013

    Try The free dictionary by Farlex. It’s an app for cellphone. I found it very interesting because you can get both american en British pronunciation. In addition you can access to a new article every day as well as scientific information and news. It’s really useful. The other aspect I adore from this dictionary is that it explains the etymology of almost each word.

    Sunday, December 28th 2014

I’m in perfect score :)

Friday, November 22nd 2013

I only used paper dictionary when I haven’t got a personal computer. I used to oxford dictionary program. It’s good. I think we should make a paper dictionary by yourself and use it which is descriptive, has phonetic, how to use and different forms. thanks!

Friday, November 22nd 2013

Thanks 70%

Friday, November 22nd 2013

Hi Sir,

Please,let us know some ESL dictionary website.

Thank you

Saturday, November 23rd 2013

    Try The free dictionary by Farlex. It’s an app for cell phone.

    Sunday, December 28th 2014

The lesson – perfect as always, but is there any dictionary that Mr. E would recommend?

Saturday, November 23rd 2013

I’m using macmillandictionary.com. It’s very useful and fast. When you search a word, you can see it phonetically, you find its all meaning with some examples (in sentences), word forms, phrases, and you can hear its pronuncitation as well. You can set British or American version. I especially like that every word of the definitions and sentences has a link to its own site (just by click on it).

Saturday, November 23rd 2013

Thank you sir

Saturday, November 23rd 2013

Thanks. Very special and unusual lesson.

Saturday, November 23rd 2013

thank’s for explain

Saturday, November 23rd 2013

“It is a part a the beginning of a word.”? I don’t understand that sentence.

Saturday, November 23rd 2013

Thank you, James, for the lesson. 9 of 10 (mistake in #6 question)

Saturday, November 23rd 2013


Saturday, November 23rd 2013

7/10. Thank james.

Saturday, November 23rd 2013


Sunday, November 24th 2013

Use paper Dictionary and keep your brain sharp.

Sunday, November 24th 2013

Nice Lesson.Thanks Mr James

Sunday, November 24th 2013

im egyptian student.. i would like to ask about how can i improve my speaking skill.. and like to know alot of vocab.. i need to chat with native speaker for example to speak english well or are there aothers ways ??

Sunday, November 24th 2013

I got 9 correct out of 10. Better for me :D Thank you, James and Mr. E :)

Sunday, November 24th 2013

YOu speak so quick

Sunday, November 24th 2013

Thank you, James, for the lesson. 6 of 10

Sunday, November 24th 2013

I couldnt understand What you read

Sunday, November 24th 2013

Hi,I want to write IELTS exam can i know TOEFL books will helpful to me or not

Sunday, November 24th 2013

Thank you very much James you are the best english teacher i have ever seen.

Sunday, November 24th 2013

Hey, I have a doubt (not about the lesson), hope you can help me. Which is the difference between hatred and hate?

Sunday, November 24th 2013

all I want for Christmas is a paper Dictionary
ILU James:*

Sunday, November 24th 2013

Thanks James. Excellents advices to Us.

Sunday, November 24th 2013

Hi, James!
I am advised to limit using dictionaries. Instead, I should try my best to guess the meaning of the new word. How do you thing about this, I want to hear a advice from you!

Monday, November 25th 2013

thanks james :D

Monday, November 25th 2013

hi james…iam student n i had some problems in my essay writing…can you help me?

Monday, November 25th 2013


Monday, November 25th 2013

I want to improve my English. if there is anyone interested in help me leave here my skype: bondek12

Monday, November 25th 2013

7/10 thumb up. Tkanks James.

Monday, November 25th 2013

Thanks!!very interesting information

Monday, November 25th 2013

thank you very match it is really good way to use dictionary .

Tuesday, November 26th 2013

James please speak a little slowly :( it is a little hard to get you when you start to speak fast.
thank you.

Thursday, November 28th 2013

Could you speak more slowly? I can’t hear clearly. My listening skill is bad ( I think that)

Thursday, November 28th 2013

Thank you James

Thursday, November 28th 2013

thanks,i got 60

Friday, November 29th 2013

Thanks 70% Not bad)))

Friday, November 29th 2013

Hi james,
Thank you so much for this website ,,,
I have question :
What is the meaning of ( honorific language )?
Thanks again

Friday, November 29th 2013

    Hey Mermaid, I hope u doing well.

    Honorific means showing honor or respect. Thank you

    Monday, December 2nd 2013

Thanks James.
You speak fast

Friday, November 29th 2013

I am so sad :(((

Saturday, November 30th 2013

thank you Mr James, in the past I meet some problem in choosing a suitable dictionary and now I know where I should begin. And by the way, you are a great teacher, so may you help me to fix mistakes in my essay for me, please. Thank you so much again.

Saturday, November 30th 2013

Hi everyone.
I need a help. I want to improve my english as quickly as possible, do you want somebody to write me? :))

Saturday, November 30th 2013

70 not bad

Saturday, November 30th 2013


Sunday, December 1st 2013

thanks jamse

Monday, December 2nd 2013


Wednesday, December 4th 2013

plzzzzz i have broken my leg vs i broke my leg .why present perfect .it is an action in the past why present perfect

Thursday, December 5th 2013

60/100. not bad right?

Friday, December 6th 2013

I’ve downloaded in my mobile a dictionary because usually the descriptions are quite better that a simple translator… ;-D

Monday, December 9th 2013

thanks james i got 70% and how to use dictionary

Tuesday, December 10th 2013

90) i thought that english is phonetic))

Sunday, December 15th 2013


    Thursday, December 19th 2013

Very good video James!

Thursday, December 19th 2013

Thank you, James.

Friday, December 20th 2013

I got 5 :(

Monday, December 23rd 2013

tnx i got 10/10

Tuesday, December 31st 2013

I Got 9 out of 10, thanks.

Tuesday, December 31st 2013

thank you for James ESL;I got 9 out of 10,thank you for your help

Wednesday, January 1st 2014

I got 7. Thanks James.

Saturday, January 4th 2014

What a teacher!
Wish all of them were this good and fun

Sunday, January 5th 2014

nyc trick

Monday, January 6th 2014

thnks sir I got 8

Friday, January 10th 2014

Thank You Sir :)

Tuesday, January 14th 2014

Skype ID ‘Huseynov.17′ ..—->If you want to improve your speaking level like me ,you can add me at skype for talking.

Monday, February 10th 2014

thanks grand master

Friday, February 14th 2014

Thanks James!
I will try make sentences randomly:)

Sunday, February 16th 2014

I apreciatte your lessons and the tips,man.Thanks a lot.

Thursday, February 20th 2014

i like it
do you like it?

Monday, March 3rd 2014

Thank you for your tips,although I don’t have a dictionary now.

Wednesday, March 5th 2014

thanks james

Saturday, March 8th 2014

Dict is not a word by itsef in English.
But dict is to speak . It is good to think meaning of the words.
When I see a new word , try to look carafully at prefix and suffix to find out meaning of the words.
Thank you for recognizing me!! James!!

Saturday, March 15th 2014

    Hi Reiko, if you love to look for the etymology of words try by using the app The free dictionary by Farlex. It’s really useful…

    Sunday, December 28th 2014

Many thanks James.

Tuesday, March 25th 2014

Hi James and ciao everyone!
Innovative and interesting class, James. I love it so much, thanks!

Tuesday, April 1st 2014

Hi James,
thanks a lot for your useful lesson
take care

Friday, April 18th 2014

realy i useful from this lesson >

thank you james

Thursday, April 24th 2014

Thanks James.
Every elephant has trunk, but most of the time we wear trunks. :)))

Friday, April 25th 2014

waw thanks James for lesson. I got 90% from 10 questions.

Friday, April 25th 2014

Really I am enjoing with lessons, it very usefull for me.

Friday, April 25th 2014

I still can’t understand the first tip, can you explain it again

Saturday, April 26th 2014

Not Bad

Thursday, May 1st 2014

What makes you a good teacher? I think the most important things are your personality and your passion to teach and help others to master this beautiful language. You have these qualities, James. U’ve done a great job! :)

Tuesday, May 6th 2014

    Hi Ikaterina, I agree with your comments on James’ teaching style and personality traits;he’s a gifted second language teacher, that’s for sure.

    Have a great week!!!

    All the best.

    Monday, July 14th 2014

very insteresting, now i find one dictionary. thanks james for the lesson.

Friday, May 9th 2014

hi James i like English language it’s my hobby to learn English and i like your explanation style thank you

Wednesday, June 18th 2014

What’s the difference between dictionary and vocabulary? I can’t understand..

Saturday, July 26th 2014

    Dictionary is paper or electronic book. For example, you know Google dictionary. Vocabulary is all words thay you know. It is in your brain.
    Vocabulary is also words you’ve learned before.

    Sunday, July 27th 2014

      I hope you understand!

      Sunday, July 27th 2014

        Yes! Now I understand what is the difference! Thanks for the answer! Greetings from Bulgaria! :)

        Sunday, July 27th 2014


Saturday, August 2nd 2014

it sounds simple in theory. When you start practicing, it demnads a lot of work and motivation.

Monday, September 22nd 2014

I’m going to try the merriam webster dictionary or the oxford one.

Monday, September 22nd 2014

I have a Longman dictionary that its edition is 2002 (about 10 year ago). Do you think I can use it for several years again or I should buy it a newer version? How long we can use a dictionary without lost new words? Truly I don’t like to spend much money for a newer version (Advanced level and Hardback copy)?

Thank you in advance

Sunday, October 26th 2014

I always knew that paper dictionary is better than electronic!!!! thanks for the lesson!!!

Monday, November 10th 2014

i have been learning this language for many years in different schools ( Canada, Uk, and England) and this is the first time that someone explains how to use a dictionary. To summarize this in a bright idea.

Sunday, November 23rd 2014

Thank you,James!

Saturday, December 13th 2014

Thank you James

Sunday, February 1st 2015

When I try take the quiz, I think my score would be not good, But I,ve got score 9/10, well you,re the first teacher that I saw at engvid james, thanks a lot (sry if my sentence still bad, I’m still learning here) :)

Monday, February 9th 2015

you are the best , JameZz :D

Friday, June 12th 2015

Really usuful. thanks a lot

Wednesday, June 17th 2015

thanks sir

Monday, June 29th 2015

That was amazing james. I did well ,but is it possible to put more vocabulary material in your link Resources


Tuesday, July 7th 2015

Hey there! Thank you for your lesssons James! They’re awesome! But there’s a question comes up. My native language is Russian, so can you advice whether I should use Rus – Eng or Eng – Eng dictionary? My English is somehing like intermediate but when I use Eng – Eng dictionary I can just save these words I learn in passive vocabulary. I mean I can read, hear them and understand but when it comes to speaking or writing I can’t use these words. I guess I can’t understand them completely when they’re explained in English. Probably you can say something about it. Thanks! Take care!

Thursday, August 20th 2015

Hi James ! You speak very fast… , so, I think this lesson is not for are “Begienners”, may be for “Intermediatte” – but NOT for a “Beginner”. But hawever, thanks a lot.

Monday, September 28th 2015

Useful advice: thanks!

Friday, January 1st 2016

same question: I have a question: what should I use: English – English dictionary or English – other language (for example my mother language) dictionary? Thank you!

Saturday, January 16th 2016

Thank you so much.

Monday, February 15th 2016

James sounded much more interesting than that lesson’s topic. LOL

Wednesday, March 23rd 2016

we should use paper dictionary not electronic,

Sunday, September 25th 2016

hello dear my name is Sebrina i live in London.
I have something to discus with you.so please
write me to my email, sebrinajean…sebrina1976@gmail.com

Monday, September 26th 2016

uuugly only 6/10 but I listened rap music at the same time maybe it was wrong :) Thank you for lessons.

Friday, February 3rd 2017

Thanks , i’ve got 7 !

Friday, June 16th 2017

Thank you James

Friday, September 15th 2017


Tuesday, September 26th 2017

Thanks, James! Your lessons are very alive and memorable)

Sunday, December 31st 2017

Thank you James, great lesson!

Friday, February 23rd 2018

hi guys if want the best dictionary I advice you to look for LONGMAN DICTIONARY it is really useful ,and it also has so many kind like for advance for upper-intermediate learners …ext
so wish you all the best ^_^

Friday, March 9th 2018

You got 7 correct out of 10.

thank you.

Monday, June 4th 2018

James how to find the word in the dictionary faster?

Sunday, June 17th 2018

Thanks James for a good lesson!

Monday, June 18th 2018

thank you sir, that’s why I always wanted to leave a comment is to write down the new word that I learned earlier ago. it helps me out of nowhere in English haha.

Thursday, June 21st 2018

Thanks James!

Thursday, May 23rd 2019

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