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For English words, there are dictionaries that help us to understand them. But for English sentences what we can do?

I am searching for a site(or book or pdf) that has a large number of sentences with meaning(or some clarification). The site "ldoceonline" is an excellent site that in it's "corpus" has many sentences. But many of its sentences are difficult and so I can't improve my English(without meaning of sentences). I don't know what I've to do? Does anyone have a reference?

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  • Depending on what languages you speak, Google Translate can be a good tool.
    – Juhasz
    Aug 7, 2019 at 20:10
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    You won't learn a language by reading isolated examples. What you should be reading are actual texts written by native speakers of English. Try newspaper articles and books on topics that interest you. I don't recommend Google Translate at all for entire sentences.
    – user3395
    Aug 7, 2019 at 20:12
  • "clarification in English" is my notion
    – Darman
    Aug 7, 2019 at 20:13
  • I know. I study separately for 1.vocabulary 2.sentences 3. readings. studying 1 is simple because of dictionaries. 3 is simple too because I can understand the main aims of readings(although in readings there are some sentences that i understand them). But number 2 is a problem(although with google I can find phrases that help me. But If there is a reference of many sentences that have meaning, there is excellent.
    – Darman
    Aug 7, 2019 at 20:23
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    Most sentences of any complexity do not have a single meaning, but require the context. Sentences out of context will not help you with meanings (much).
    – Colin Fine
    Aug 7, 2019 at 20:43

3 Answers 3

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One thing that can be very helpful is to obtain a book that is available both in English and in a language you know well. It's important that care has been taken in the translations to give a consistent meaning rather than paraphrasing. For that reason religious texts are often useful. Read in English, and when you're confused refer to the version in your native language.

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  • Not keen on recommending religious texts to learners–better than nothing at all–because they tend to be written in a poetic, simplistic or "archaic" style, not necessarily difficult to understand but their contents are not a reliable reflection of modern usage.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 11, 2019 at 8:47
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    @Mari-Lou A - That of course depends on the text and the particular translations used (modern English translations are probably available). The point is to find a text where care is taken to reflect the same meaning in different translations, rather than translate phrases differently in different languages. I agree that prose passages will be more useful than poetry. In terms of the OP what was asked for is a way of understanding different sentences, so my answer was to suggest that if you find something that is unclear you can find the equivalent in your own (or a more familiar) language. Aug 11, 2019 at 17:48
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Vocabulary.com and especially Oxford Learners' Dictionary have excellent examples of how to use words in sentences, if that is what you are asking, which I think it is

OLD

fish

  1. They caught several fish.
    There are about 30 000 species of fish in the world.
    He landed a big fish.

  2. The chef's fish dishes are his speciality.
    fish farmed in Canada.
    This fish tastes funny

idioms

 What do you mean you can't do it? It'll be like shooting fish in a barrel!
 The hovercraft has always suffered from the fact that it is neither fish nor fowl.

Vocabulary.com

fish

  1. “in the living room there was a tank of colorful fish”
    “after the scare about foot-and-mouth disease a lot of people started eating fish instead of meat”
    “I like to go fishing on weekends”
  2. “fish for compliments”

And on the right hand side, there are authentic examples

  1. He’d like to smile at how he used to deliberately tangle his brother’s fishing line, jealous that he was catching more fish. NEWS (Washington Post Aug 10, 2019)
  2. He still drank like a crazy fish, but liquor did not drag him down as it did some men. FICTION The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  3. My father and I were wading in an industrial canal, reminiscent of a subway, as thousands of hatchery-raised fish were being released into it. ARTS & CULTURE The New Yorker Aug 8, 2019
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  • It seems clear that the question is about understanding the meaning of sentences, rather than the meaning of individual words or how to use those words in sentences. In fact it specifically states that for words there are online dictionaries, but what is being asked for is a resource for sentence meaning not word meaning and usage. Aug 11, 2019 at 17:54
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    @RobLambden the examples taken from the dictionaries are relatively short and show learners how to use familiar and unfamiliar words in a sentence. A sentence always has a meaning, so these two online resources should be helpful. Your suggestion is also valid.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 11, 2019 at 19:03
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My "strategy" when I was young in order to improve my English was as others like Rob Lambden suggests that you find some books or movies that would interest you in English, but my difference is to read/watch them using English-English dictionaries as much as possible, since English is as other languages a different language with the different grammar so that you inevitably need to get used to it as a whole complete package, which requires the "natural thought flow in English", which does differ from your language.

My high school friend loved Aerosmith so naturally I was influenced by him, even though almost all the songs sung by Aerosmith contain only sex and other BS stuff, but it certainly works! I am sorry to talk about my personal experience, but I used to read books (famous ones such as reproduced in movies) like Pelican Brief, and you should realize how lucky you are compared with old guys like me who had no Amazon those days but paid 10 dollars to go to English bookstores to buy them which were only available in the central Tokyo which is the capital city of my country. My personal pride is I read almost all works by Marx and Engels in English.

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  • Back in those days, we had to buy our books in bookstores and our music in record stores. My how the times have changed!
    – J.R. Mod
    Aug 12, 2019 at 10:49
  • @J.R. Yeah, but wasn't it fun, was it? Today, kids get books at their home, but "at that time" the "adventure" to the bookstores was one of the excitements to me lol. :)
    – user17814
    Aug 12, 2019 at 11:18
  • It is certainly true that to become fluent in a language you need to reach the point where you fuind that you think in that language. We often don't realise how much the language we use shapes the way we think. I also grew up with actual books, from a public library or second-hand bookshop. The question was about understanding sentences - not individual words - which needs more than a dictionary (whether English or Engliish to another language). Aug 13, 2019 at 16:15

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