Thoughts for serious language learners
The Antimoon Blog header image is a new site which wants to help you learn English words. You can type in any English word (including phrasal verbs) and VocabUsage will show you a list of authentic example sentences gathered from the Web.

Are the examples as good as what you’ll find in a learner’s dictionary? Certainly not. Because VocabUsage relies on news sites (rather than, say, discussion forums, which could contain poor English), most examples are written in typical newspaper style, often being more complicated than is necessary to show the usage of a word. By contrast, examples in learner’s dictionaries are hand-picked by editors and usually simplified to remove unnecessary words.

Another issue with VocabUsage is that it sometimes does not give examples for all the major meanings of a word. For example, I couldn’t find any examples for go out in the sense to date someone.

However, VocabUsage excels in the sheer number of sentences (especially for rare words like hirsute or halcyon) and it is certainly better than searching for examples on Google. It wouldn’t be my first choice for learning a new English word, but is a great supplement to a good learner’s dictionary. After all, example sentences program your brain and the more you see, the easier it is for you to write and speak in English.


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