Guide Words Worksheets

All About These 15 Worksheets

This series of 15 worksheets provides a comprehensive and engaging learning experience for students to understand the significance and practical application of guide words in dictionaries. Designed to cater to various learning styles and abilities, these worksheets offer a range of activities that promote vocabulary development, dictionary skills, critical thinking, and research proficiency.

What Are Guide Words?

Guide words are printed on the top of a dictionary page and indicate the first and last item or word on that page. Having a proper understanding of guide words is essential if you want to learn how to use a dictionary and find any word you want in a dictionary quickly and easily.

The words that you see in a dictionary are called “entry words,” and all of these entry words present in the dictionary are arranged in alphabetical order. The fact that words have been arranged in alphabetical order makes it possible to index and classify thousands and thousands of words available in the English language. Guide words make it even easier to locate precisely a single word in a sea of countless other words.

Where Are Guide Words Found?

The most common place where you can find guide words are dictionaries since it is very important to categorize and arrange all those words alphabetically so that any specific word can be found when you need to look up its meaning. Take an example of the following guide words:

Suppose a dictionary page has the following entries, bus, Busan, bush, bushfire, business, and bustle. Then the guide words for this would be bus-bustle since all the other entries have an alphabetical order that places them between these two words. Guide words are most frequently used in other places: encyclopedias, phone books, reference books, etc.

Importance of Guide Words

Guide words are probably the most useful method to deal with countless entries in dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. They help you to narrow your search so that you can quickly and easily land on a page that contains your desired word or entry. This way, you can jump right to the middle of the correct page, and in this way, you will only have a few entries on that page, among which you will find the word you are looking for.

Even though the advancement in technology is responsible for the popularity of electronic books and dictionaries, there are times when the knowledge of guide books comes in handy when you need to classify a given set of words or entries.

How to Use Guide Words?

To learn the proper use of guide words, we will take the example of this specific dictionary page.

Table 1: Sunday – superfine

Sunday Sunshine
Sundew Sunspot
Sunfish Sunstroke
Sunflower Super
Sunny Supercilious
Sunrise Superficial
Sunset Superfine

Suppose you are looking for the meaning of the word sunrise and have a big and intimidating dictionary in front of you. Instead of looking at every page of that thick dictionary to look for your specific word, you will simply look at your word and see the alphabetical order of its letters.

s u n r i s e

Your word starts with “s,” so you will jump to the dictionary section, which is marked by the letter “s.” Here you will find all the words that start with “s.”

Then you look at your word and see that the second letter is “u.” In the same section, you will flip the pages to see the one with entries that start with “s” but have the letter “u” directly after that. This is accomplished by looking at the guide words on top of the page.

If there are still many pages that contain words starting from “su,” then look at the third letter of your word, which is “n,” in this case.

Now look for the dictionary pages whose first and second guide words cover those words whose third letter is “n.” Looking at Table 1, we will see that the guide words are Sunday and superfine. The third letter of Sunday is “n,” and the third letter of superfine is “p.” This means that your word is present among all the words that lie between Sunday and superfine.

Having proper knowledge regarding the use of guide words is a great skill that will always help you how to look up a word in a physical dictionary or encyclopedia.