Context Clues are hints that the author gives to help define a difficult or unusual word. The clue may appear within the same sentence as the word to which it refers, or it may be in a preceding or subsequent sentence. Because most of your vocabulary is gained through reading, it is important that you be able to recognize and take advantage of context clues.Types of context clues. There are at least four kinds of context clues that are quite common.
| A synonym, or word with the same meaning, is used in the sentence. My opponent’s argument is fallacious, misleading – plain wrong.
| A word or group of words that has the opposite meaning reveals the meaning of an unknown term. Although some men are loquacious, others hardly talk at all.
| The unknown word is explained within the sentence or in a sentence immediately preceding. The patient is so somnolent that she requires medication to help her stay awake for more than a short time.
| Specific examples are used to define the term.Celestial bodies, such as the sun, moon, and stars, are governed by predictable laws.
| Read the following sentences and define the bolded word based on the context clue. Then identify which of the four types of clues is used. 1.
| The girl who used to be very vociferous doesn’t talk much anymore.
| Pedagogical institutions, including high schools, kindergartens, and colleges, require community support to function efficiently.
| He was so parsimonious that he refused to give his own sons the few pennies they needed to buy pencils for school. It truly hurt him to part with his money.
| His pertinacity, or stubbornness, is the cause of most of his trouble.
| Rather than be involved in clandestine meetings, they did everything quite openly.
| Ecclesiastics, such as priests, ministers, and pastors, should set models of behavior for their congregants.
| The girl was churlish – rude, sullen and absolutely ill-mannered.
| Because the conflagration was aided by wind, it was so destructive that every building in the area was completely burned to the ground.
Kinds of contextual clues
Four Types of Context Clues
When you're working on the reading section of a standardized test, you're going to have to employ some serious reading prowess to get you through. Knowing the various types of context clues can help you understand difficult vocabulary words in context, which is a must on a long reading section. You'll also need to know how to determine the main idea and make inferences, and context clues can help you out there, too. Context Clue #1: Definition or Restatement
The meaning of the vocabulary word is in the sentence itself, usually following the vocabulary word. Jack's duplicity – crafty dishonesty – caused him to steal his coworker's pensions by funneling their money into an offshore account. Context Clue #2: Synonym
The sentence uses a similar word to help explain the meaning of the vocabulary word. The baseball coach punished the team's duplicity or deceitfulness after they admitted to using steroids to boost their batting averages. Context Clue #3: Antonym /Opposite/Contrast
The sentence uses a word with an opposite definition to give the meaning of the vocabulary word. It was your duplicity that caused me to break up with you! Had you been honest, I wouldn't have felt the need. Unlike my last employee who had integrity to spare, you have nothing more than duplicity and will not receive a recommendation from me for another job. Context Clue #4: Example or Explanation
This type of context clue uses examples to help the reader infer the meaning of the vocabulary word. His duplicity involved lowering his employee's salaries, increasing their stock options, and then stealing the money he saved by doing so. I was aghast at her duplicity when she stole my diamond earrings, sold them on eBay and lied to me about it the...
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