TAKE, WHAT a verb!

In document Working with Techincal and Scientific English (Page 50-54)

In the following table you are given clues of how the verb «take» behaves. Try to fill in the missing information using your dictionary:

1 (MOVE)






X A) I held out my hand and she took it

B) I tried to telephone him but he refused to take my call C) Rain is forecast, so take your umbrella when you go out D) I had to read the letter twice before I could take it all in

E) She only took it out on me because she was tired and disappointed F) The plane took off at 8:30

U. To move in order to hold something in the hands V. To receive willingly

W. To leave suddenly, leave the ground and fly, depart X. To understand the meaning and importance of something Y. To go somewhere with someone

Z. To move something or someone from one place to another


When using a dictionary, it is very important that you learn how to differentiate word senses. Remember that the same word may have different meanings depen-ding on the context it is used in.

Use the Cambridge Online Dictionaries (http://dictionary.cambridge.org) for the following task:

Read the anonymous poem below.

Some of the words are underlined. These words may have a general meaning and a specific meaning when used in computer texts. Use the dictionary to find a general definition of the word and a specialised (computer) definition of the same word.

What is a cursor? You probably know its meaning in computer texts since the same word is used in Spanish. Use the dictionary to decide what does the poet mean when (s)he says «a cursor used profanity».

What is the meaning of «log on» as used in the poem?

Remember when . . .

A computer was something on TV From a science fiction show,

A window was something you had to clean And a ram was a cousin of a goat.


An application was for employment A program was a TV show

A cursor used profanity A keyboard was a piano.

Memory was something you lose with age ...

And if you unzipped anything in public You’d be in jail for a while.

Log on was adding wood to a fire

Hard drive was a long drive on the road ...

a web was a spider’s home and a virus was the flu.

I guess I will stick to my pad and paper And the memory in my head

I hear nobody’s been killed in a computer crash But when it happens they wish they were dead.

(Anonymous poem in American Speech 74.3 (1999) 299-230 «Among the New Words»)


What is the difference between timber and wood?

Read the following examples with the words «timber» and «wood» and say in which ways they are used differently. Then look up the definitions in the Webster’s online dictionary (Webster’s 1828: http://www.christiantech.com/, http://1828.


- These are industrial processes carried out only to order unless the use of

‘treated’ timber in the rebuilding is specified from the outset.

- There was no effective management of the woods for profitable timber production, and regeneration was prevented because the young shoots were eaten by the deer and by commoners’ cattle, which roamed the forests at will.

- Tree removal in such a system, as occurred in the 1607-1900 period of US history, will inevitably lead to forest demise, but if the ecological system is carefully managed there are large-scale opportunities to reap a timber harvest without jeopardising sustainability.

- Lime was particularly good for coppicing and its timber prized for turning, furniture making and much used in coachwork.

- The greatest demand on timber was for industry.

- Lots of shrubs have wood and they’re not trees.

- Have you tasted tea made with water boiled over a wood fire, Miss Telford?

- These oils have long been the principal constituents of paintsand varnishes for protecting and beautifying the surfacesof wood and metal.

- He leaned his head against the wood paneling behind him,

- Some people can carve most anything out of a piece of wood. Some make beautiful chairs, cabinets, chests, doll houses, etc.

à Which differences did you see? How does the dictionary define these words?

Underline or highlight the words/phrases in the examples which show the typical contexts in which «timber» appears.


Have a look at the free online dictionaries listed after the questions below and then answer the following questions:

1. How would you classify the dictionaries according to type?

2. List the different kinds of information you have seen in them

3. State what would you use each of them for and/or in which situation.

Is there any of these dictionaries you would never use? Why?

4. Which of the dictionaries you have seen do you like better and why?


- English with Multi-Lingual Search - includes translation (English, German, Dutch, French, Italian, and Spanish), definition (English), sound pronunciation, synonym, example phrase. In this dictionary you can listen to the pronunciation for the words by clicking on the word or on the loudspeaker icon.


Cambridge Dictionaries online

includes five dictionaries in which you write the word(s) and the next screen summarises the possible senses of that word(s). Thus, if you write «mouth» body part opening. Clicking on one sense will give you all the information available for that sense, which includes pronunciation, grammar, definition and examples. Idioms may be searched either giving the complete idiom or by introducing one of the words appearing in the idiom. Thus, if you introduce «hand» in the idiom dictionary, it will take you to the following entries: to know something like the back of your hand, a bird in the hand, be a dab hand, the dead hand of something, can count something on the fingers of one hand, first hand, the hand that feeds you, etc. In the phrasal verb dictionary you may find information by looking for the adverb or preposition or by looking for the verb+adverb or preposition. You may also enter one verb to see which adverbs or prepositions go with it.

Cambridge Dictionaries Online. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/

Cambridge International Dictionary of English Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary

Cambridge Dictionary of American English Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms Cambridge International Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs

In document Working with Techincal and Scientific English (Page 50-54)

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