Grade: Senior

#3072. Abridged and Unabridged Dictionaries

Reading/Writing, level: Senior
Posted Thu Feb 19 08:01:01 PST 2004 by Yvonne Mayo (
Liberty High School, Liberty, USA
Materials Required: Assorted abridged and unabridged dictionaries
Activity Time: 1 hour
Concepts Taught: Differentiating between abridged and unabridged dictionaries. Choosing the most appropriate and com

Using one abridged and one unabridged dictionary, ook up the following words in each dictionary and answer the questions below about each:
1. Do the dictionaries agree on the spelling?
2. Are there alternate spellings in either dictionary?
3. Compare the definitions--what is the same, what is different, which contains more information?
4. Do both dictionaries give the same pronunciation?
5. Which dictionary gives the clearer definition for this particular word in your opinion? Defend your answer.

As a class, compare the answers by listing them on the board as students share their results. Have students share why some definitions might be missing or different in the two sources. As students who use these sources, what suggestions would the students make to the editors to make them better and more user-friendly?