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Context Clues

Adapted from a presentation by Cindy Zepeda

Kristyn Clark

on 16 September 2016

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Transcript of Context Clues

Context Clues: words around a new word
that show you what it means

Types of Context Clues:
General (Gist) clues

One more thing...
Suggest the meaning of an unknown word by listing examples.

The adverse effects of this drug, including dizziness, nausea,
and headaches, have caused it to be withdrawn from the market.

Adverse is the unknown word. Dizziness, nausea, and headaches
are negative effects, so adverse must mean bad.
A synonym is a word that
means the same or almost the
same as the unknown
word. A synonym may
appear anywhere
in a passage.
2. Synonyms
An antonym means the opposite of
another word. They are often signaled
by words and phrases such as
however, but, yet, on the other hand,
and in contrast.
3. Antonym Context Clues
Textbook authors often define important terms.
You'll know they're important terms if they're in
type. Authors may also provide
examples. Pay particular attention to these

1. Nocturnal creatures, such as bats and owls, have highly developed senses that enable them to function in the dark.

Nocturnal means:
a. feathers b. living c. active at night

Example Context Clues

4. Today I had to deal with one mishap after another. I couldn't find my keys, I dropped a bowl of soup at lunchtime, and my computer crashed twice.

Mishap means
a. unlucky accident b. event c. unexpected question

Synonym Context Clues
1. Fresh garlic may not enhance the breath, but it certainly does improve spaghetti sauce.

Enhance means
a. improve b. certainly c. breath
Synonym context clues
4. Speaking in front of a group disconcerts Alan. Even
answering a question in class embarrasses him.

Disconcerts means:
a. answers b. embarrasses c. speaks
Antonym Context Clues
1. Many people have pointed out the harmful effects that a
working mother may have on the family, yet there are many salutary
effects as well. (Hint: The opposite of salutary is harmful.)

Salutary means:
a. well-known b. beneficial c. hurtful

Antonym context Clues

4. Many politicians do not give succinct answers. They prefer long
ones that help them avoid the point. (Hint: If politicians prefer
to give long answers, what kind of answer don't they give?)

Succinct means:
a. brief b. accurate c. complete

4. General Clues/Gist of the passage
Sometimes you must draw
conclusions based on the info
given with the word.
Asking yourself questions about
the passage can help you make a
fairly accurate guess about
the unknown word's meaning.
General Gist Clues

1. A former employee, irate over having been fired,
broke into the plant and deliberately wrecked several machines.
(Hint: What would be the employee's state of mind?)

Irate means:
a. relieved b. very angry c. undecided

General Gist Clues
4. The lizard was so lethargic that I wasn't sure if it was alive or dead.
It didn't even blink. (Hint: Would an animal that seemed
dead be green, inactive or big?)
a. green b. inactive c. big

2. Mundane activities such as doing the laundry or dishes or going food shopping or reading the newspaper help me relax.

Mundane means:
a. exciting b. painful c. ordinary

3. Instances of common euphemisms include "final resting place" (for grave), "intoxicated" (for drunk), and "restroom" (for toilet).

Euphemisms means:
a. unpleasant reactions b. answers c. substitutes for
offensive terms
Check Your Understanding Answer Key
pg. 23
1. c
2. c
3. c
5. Some people have bizarre ideas. For instance, they may think the TV is talking to them or that others can steal their thoughts.

Bizarre means:
a. limited b. ordinary c. odd

Practice 1 Answer Key
pg. 24
1. A
2. C
2. Because my friends had advised me to
scrutinize the lease, I took time to
examine all the fine print.

Scrutinize means:
a. examine b. advise c. print

6. The presidential candidate vowed to discuss
pragmatic solutions. He said the American people
want practical answers, not empty theory.

Pragmatic means:
a. vow b. theory c. practical
Practice 2 Answer Key
pg. 26
1. B
2. B
3. C
2. As soon as I made a flippant remark to my
boss, I regretted sounding so disrespectful.

Flippant means:
a. regretted b. sounding c. disrespectful
3. Although the salesperson tried to assuage
the angry customer, there was no way
to soothe her.

Assuage means:
a. angry b. salesperson c. soothe
Check Your Understanding Answer Key
pg. 26
1. A
2. C
3. C
2. Trying to control everything your teens do can
impede their growth. To advance their development,
allow them to make some decisions on their own.
(Hint: The opposite of impede is advance.)

Impede means:
a. block b. predict c. improve

3. During their training, police officers must
respond to simulated emergencies
in preparation for dealing with real ones.
(Hint: The opposite of simulated is real.)

Simulated means:
a. made-up b. mild c. actual
Check Your Understanding Answer Key
pg. 28
1. B
2. A
3. A
Practice 3 Answer Key
pg. 29
1. A
2. B
3. B
5. Although investments in the stock market
can be lucrative, they can also result in great
financial loss.

Lucrative means:
a. required b. financially successful c. risky
6. "I've seen students surreptitiously check answer
sheets during exams," said the professor. "However,
until today I never saw someone openly lay out a
cheat sheet on his desk."

Surreptitiously means:
a. legally b. secretly c. loudly
Check Your Understanding Answer Key
pg. 31
2. Despite the proximity of Ron's house to his sister's,
he rarely sees her. (Hint: What about Ron's house would
make it surprising that he didn't see his sister more often?)

Proximity means:
a. similarity b. nearness c. superiority
3. The car wash we organized to raise funds was a
fiasco--it rained all day. (Hint: How successful
would a car wash be on a rainy day?)

Fiasco means:
a. great success b. welcome surprise c. complete disaster
1. B
2. B
3. C
5. Jamal didn't want to tell Tina the entire plot of the movie,
so he just gave her the gist of the story.
(Hint: What kind of information would Jamal have given

Gist means:
a. ending b. title c. main idea

3. After the accident, I was angered when the other driver told the police officer a complete fabrication about what happened. He claimed that I was the person at fault.

Fabrication means:
a. lie b. description c. confession
Practice 4 Answer Key
pg. 32
1. B
2. C
3. A
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