French Writing Resources

Larousse

larousse.com

Quick Pros-

  • detailed, nuanced, easy to follow entries
  • tabs that link to additional information on a given word
  • handy-dandy verb conjugator

Quick Cons-

  • each click loads a new page, which take a while to load sometimes
  • the dictionary is very picky as to what it will count as a word: can’t handle phrases and compound terms
  • navigating between the two dictionaries and the conjugator can be tedious and sometimes confusing

The Story-
Larousse is based in French and offers two online French dictionaries: a monolingual dictionary and a bilingual dictionary.

Monolingual Dictionary: The entries are neat and organized and simple to sift through to find the information that you are looking for. Tabs on the side of the entries show similar similar words, or different forms of a verb. The entries clearly define a variety of contexts that are applicable to a given word and each word in the entry is a hyperlink to that words’ entry in the dictionary. Along the top of the entry there are different tabs that link to word synonyms, homonyms, example phrases, tips on how to use the word, and quotes from various authors. However, depending on the entry, not all of the tabs are available. A main issue with this site is that it’s very picky in regards to what you type in: if you type in “epargner” and miss the accent, the system won’t add the accent for you, instead it’ll take you to a page of suggestions from which you can click “épargner” and go to that entry. Sometimes this makes the process of quickly finding a word tedious and drawn out. Furthermore, Larousse does not handle compound words or slang terms very well. For example, if you want the definition of the term “in bulk” (“en gros”) Larousse won’t recognize more than one word at a time. You have search “en” and “gros” separately, which likely will not bring you the definition of “en gros”. The monolingual dictionary works really well if you already know the word that you want to look up in French. Looking up the word in a French dictionary as opposed to an English-French dictionary offers a more nuanced entry, detailed definitions, different contexts in which the word can be used, and information on the word such as the gender, conjugations, etc.

Bilingual Dictionary: The entries in this dictionary offer translations and are a lot shorter. The cool thing is that they still offer a variety of different contexts for a given word. As well, a lot of the words and phrases are accompanied by audio clips that you can click to hear what a specific word sounds like in French.

Larousse also offers a comprehensive verb conjugator: it is really easy to access and the layout of the verbs and their conjugations is simple to follow. However, make sure to click back to the dictionary if you are done conjugating verbs, if you try to type a non-verb into the conjugator, it gets angry. As clicking around on this website loads a new page every time, it can be quite time consuming to navigate between different entries, the two dictionaries, and the verb conjugator. As well, sometimes Larousse pages take fooorever to load. If you’re looking for a quick translation or definition, you may be better off with Google or WordReference, which load a lot faster. However, if you are in it for the long haul with a French assignment, Larousse is a great source of detailed information on French words.

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