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What should I keep in mind when buying a dictionary?

You will need to research the dictionaries on the market. There are different types and sizes of dictionaries. What are your needs and purposes? Is this a dictionary for adult use or for children? Once you have found out which dictionaries may fit your needs and purposes, you will need to look inside each and read reviews to determine the dictionaries' features and how each is different from the others. Are the definitions understandable and thorough? Is there usage guidance? How about synonym studies? Are etymologies important to you? Are the parts of the dictionary entry clear, like the pronunciations? Are there illustrative examples in the entries to clarify the meaning and use of words? Is it important to you to have illustrations or encyclopedic information? Do you want biographical and geographical entries within the dictionary? Take a good look at the Guide in the front of the dictionary to get an overview of the coverage, the features, and the typology used to present different parts of the dictionary entries. Are you looking for a special dictionary - one for a specific field (e.g., advertising), or a non-alphabetical/thematic reference? Here are other general questions to ask: How new is the dictionary? How many words are in the dictionary? Does it have a CD-ROM? Does it look clear and simple? Will it be easy to use?

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