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To prevent myself from asking an obvious, silly question multiple times: What are the English language tools you found most useful?

I found Corpus Concordance English extremely useful for looking up collocations.

Please, one tool per answer.

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More organized list on meta: List of general references. –  Andrew Grimm Jan 6 '13 at 7:34
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closed as off topic by RegDwigнt Jul 25 '12 at 19:36

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42 Answers

Acronym finder

A website that provides the definitions of acronyms.

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Google Books is useful for searching for real usage and etymology of words and phrases, and for antecedents.

However, care must be taken with metadata, especially when only a snippet is shown: occasionally the book was published later than the the year Google claims it was, and sometimes they accidentally include multiple books for each record.

Therefore it's important to double check the date: scroll up to confirm the real date for "full view" books, and for preview/"snippet view" verify with another source (such as the Internet Archive or Project Gutenberg).

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The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, from the publishers of the OED, is one of my favorite dictionaries.

It has entries written using the Oxford 3000 keywords, so they're easy to understand, suitable for learners and experts alike. Each entry includes British and American English audio and an IPA pronunciation key. The example sentences and usage notes are great.

For focusing on American English, the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary is also now available, which includes essentially the same information and features as the American English parts of the OALD entries.

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Microsoft Word's spelling checker

But be careful with its grammar checker: it’s often wrong.

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I don't know how many times this has saved me from writing "teh..." –  kitukwfyer Sep 11 '10 at 14:15
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Being from a field of science with specialized language, it is a challenge to use, even if I train it on my own computer –  1'' Dec 2 '10 at 15:12
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Be careful! The grammar checker is a useful tool to spot slips, but do not treat it as an authority. –  Pitarou Feb 6 '12 at 15:18
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I'm an English as a Second/Foreign Language teacher, and I like to use the Cambridge Dictionaries Online.

It has different levels of definitions from Learner's (which used to be basic or beginner) to Advanced Learner's.

I find it's not only helpful for me when I need to find a way to define a word for a student, but it also helps me understand words I may have never seen before or don't often use. They also have some mobile apps for English students, and a blog that posts about new words in English like lactivism and lets you comment about them.

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The Internet Archive's Text Archive has old books and journals in many formats, including plain text and scanned. Useful for confirming things only available as snippets in Google Books.

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Acrogen

An acronym generator generates acronyms from sets of words.

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Word Dynamo

Word Dynamo from Dictionary.com is a nice way to learn new vocabulary. It has flashcard sets of a variety of different topics.

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The Usenet archive at Google Groups is useful for searching for Internet slang dating back to 1981.

Be careful as there's no way to search only Usenet, and some of the non-Usenet results are misdated, but it can sometimes be useful.

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manythings.org is an online "dictionary" which can help you memorize words which are listed according to their frequency.

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