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Can we use the word consult with unanimated objects.

  • You need to consult a dictionary
  • Please consult the works of Douglas Howard before trying it out
  • One should consult the book by Adam Fist before making such suggestions
  • The action in "consult" refers to the subject (you, one, etc.) which are animate. What you are asking about is "The dictionary consulted me." Probably not. – user3169 May 13 '17 at 17:27
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In your use of

consult

it has the meaning of

look up
refer to
checkout

In your example,

I don't know the meaning of that word, I will have to consult my dictionary.

is appropriate and understandable usage but a formalistic/stuffy way of expressing

I don't know the meaning of that word, I will have to look it up in my dictionary.

  • So consult is possible but formal? – SovereignSun May 13 '17 at 18:24
  • To me, consult sounds more formal the alternatives, as in "Allow me to consult my dictionary." instead of "I need to look that up." – Peter May 13 '17 at 19:48

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