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Out of the black and into the red …

Regular users of the Macmillan Dictionary will be familiar with the red / black words feature (if you’re not familiar with it, take a look at the entry for freeze, and the one for billionaire, and you’ll notice that the colour of the word itself varies, and there’s an explanation of ‘red words’ at the top right of the entry). We use the red and black colour coding to indicate the frequency with which different words are used in everyday language. Exploring this feature can be a good way to help students learn more about a word.

So here’s an e-lesson that you can use in class to encourage students to investigate dictionary entries more fully. You’ll need up to 45 minutes to do the whole lesson, though it’s broken down into handy chunks for you, if you don’t have that much time available.

Red words e-lesson Teacher’s Notes

Red Words e-lesson Worksheet


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Sharon Creese


  • I’m sorry ,but I have a question to ask. We can say “I try to persuade him to change his mind”and”i’ll make her to change her mind” but can we say “I’ ll change her mind” or “He changed my mind”I look forward to your answer. thank you.

  • Jia Liu: thanks for your question. Any of the following constructions are possible:
    1. I’ll try to persuade him to change his mind
    2. I’ll make her change her mind [but not: “I’ll make her to change her mind’]
    3. I’ll change her mind/He changed my mind
    Number 3 is much less likely than the others (and therefore less frequent ): usually you change your own mind, not someone else’s mind. So you say ‘I’ll change her mind’ you mean you feel confident that you will be able to persuade her to change her mind. So it’s not ‘incorrect’, it’s just rather unusual.

  • Hello Tasha. We don’t update the existing lesson plans, but we do add new ones. If you have any comments on an existing lesson plan please do add them and we will try to answer.You can find links to all our language resources here.

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