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

In your use of


it has the meaning of

look up
refer to

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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.