Recently a native user started to constantly saying at comment line "XXXX dictionary has this entry", "YYYY dictionary has this entry" so on and so forth. I asked this question about a phrasal verb whose active meanings and the passive meanings are different, I had had no idea about such things, so I actually made a question about the active mode meanings. But wait, English has many definitions and the way to use especially about phrasal verbs, so even like the above, when a phrasal verb has different meanings by active and passive, and if I have to search all of them, isn't the ELL out of use? Because dictionary solves all the problem.

P.S, the user blatantly started to say "if a question can be solved by dictionaries (not specified what dictionaries), it is worth for the onlookers to vote to close.

  • No. If a question is about grammar, you don't look in a dictionary; you look in a grammar. Dictionaries can't tell you about syntax; grammars do. Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 18:21

3 Answers 3


If someone adds a comment providing a link to a dictionary definition then you could argue that they have provided the answer to the question. We are not supposed to do that but for lack of time people often do it.

If someone votes to close your question you have the option to edit to try to forestall eventual closure. For instance if they think it could be looked up in a dictionary then edit to tell us what dictionary you used, which definition, if any, you think might be relevant but why it has not answered your doubts. The people will have a better idea of how to help you. Similarly if they vote to close for lack of research edit in what research you did. People are volunteers here and they do not want to spend time explaining things to you which in fact you already knew.


The comment thread looks like a misunderstanding to me. The user even upvoted your question, according to this comment:

Here you’ve done the right thing and looked up the word. (+1)

The question has no close votes either.

Many questions can be answered by a dictionary, but a learner may not have the capacity to find and understand the correct definition (especially in a monolingual dictionary). People understand that.

Show that you checked one dictionary: that’s enough for most people.

If I don’t see evidence that someone tried a dictionary, then I’ll try solving the question with my dictionary. (NOAD: It’s the same as Lexico.) If I can solve it easily, then I’ll vote to close. If closing was an error (the author couldn’t understand the dictionary as well as I could), then all that’s needed is an edit to indicate that the dictionary didn’t help.

(Solving it easily means a few seconds of me looking in my dictionary: I’m a native speaker and I know it takes learners longer to read. When someone’s asking about a word with a lot of definitions, such as a preposition, I don’t find it useful to close as needing more research. Closing as duplicate, on the other hand...)

  • >Solving it easily means a few seconds of me looking in my dictionary, Yes, according to the help center quote by the person, the help center says, "Please don’t ask questions that can be answered by a quick dictionary lookup." So no OP is required to look up 5-6 dictionaries.
    – Kentaro
    Commented May 2, 2021 at 13:55
  • quick dictionary lookup doesn't mean the user who asked a question doesn't need to look up 5-6 dictionaries. Also, there are questions asked because two dictionaries give a different/contradictory definition of a word; I am not sure those questions should not be acceptable.
    – apaderno
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 13:29

Providing one link to a source shows effort. But the OP can not make sense of the different definitions so they create the question. It is inconceivable to expect anyone to check every dictionary, or provide links to them. That's why people are here. To crowd-source finding answers and advice on how to learn.

Both the OP, those who comment or answer, vote to close, upvote or downvote need to realize it may even be more difficult to formulate the question they have then the actual word or phrase they are unsure of.

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