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Context Clues:

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by

Karen Kitlarz

on 4 July 2014

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Transcript of Context Clues:

Good readers
know
some words
will be difficult,
and they search for clues that help determine their meaning.
Context clues
are the
words
,
phrases
,
and
sentences
that surround an unknown word that help to
clarify its meaning
.
What Are Context Clues?
Types of Context Clues
There are many types of context clues.
Some are easier to find than others.
While you read, be on the lookout for:
Context Clue Type:
Definition
An actual
definition
of the word can be found near the unknown word.

Examples:
A
pachyderm
is a very large animal with thick skin.

A
pachyderm
, a very large animal with thick skin, can weigh 2,000 pounds!

Very large animals with thick skin, or
pachyderms
, have unique ways of staying cool.
Determining the Meaning of Unknown Words
Context Clues:
•definition
•synonym or restatement
•antonym or contrast
•comparison
•example
•list or series of items
•cause/effect
•grammar
•inference
Context Clue Type:
Synonym or Restatement
A word or phrase with a
similar meaning
can be found near the unknown word. You may see the synonym or statement set off with commas, dashes, or parentheses.

Examples:
The
crate
, or

box, arrived just before my birthday.

I peered into the box and discovered a
Basenji
--an African barkless dog--looking back at me.

It
bounded
(sprang) into my arms, making me the happiest birthday girl on Earth!
Context Clue Type:
Antonym or Contrast
A word or phrase with the
opposite meaning
can be found near the unknown word. You may see signal words such as
however
,
but, while, although, unlike, otherwise, unless, instead, on the other hand, not, never, or no.

Examples:

The hot summer sun had made me feel
sluggish
, unlike my sister, who was quite energetic
.

My skin was
parched
. However, once I entered the pool, it became wet and refreshed.

I tried to
submerge
my rubber ducky, but it stayed afloat.
Context Clue Type:
Comparison
The unknown word is in a comparison nearby. You may see signal words such as
like, same as, similar to, in the same way,
or
too
.

Examples:

Similar to American pick-up trucks,
lorries
in England have flat beds.

England's
parliament
is like America's legislative branch of government.

Just as some Americans get around by subway, the British get from one place to another by
tube
.


Context Clue Type:
Example
There is an example near the unknown word. You may see signal words like:
for example, for instance, such as
, or
like
.

Examples:

A
viscous
material, such as honey, is thick.

In biology class, we studied living things called
Lepidoptera
, for instance, butterflies and moths.

Today in reading, we're learning the difference between
protagonists
like the three little pigs and
antagonists
like the wolf.





Context Clue Type:
List or Series
There is a nearby, short list of words related to the unknown word.

Examples:

Animals that belong to the scientific group called
Canidae
include wolves, foxes, coyotes, jackals, and domestic dogs.

Cruciferous
vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are very good for your heart.

Beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts, known as
legumes,
are packed with important vitamins.






Context Clue Type:
Cause and Effect
The unknown word is near a cause/effect relationship. You will often see signal words such as
because, since, due to
,
cause
,
therefore
,
after
, or
as a result
.

Examples:

Because gray clouds are beginning to roll in, I expect to see
precipitation
any time now.

The excitement in the crowd
escalated
after the team scored the winning goal.

The tomato plant was
deprived
of water. Therefore, its leaves began to turn yellow and droop.
Context Clue Type:
Grammar
Grammar refers to the type of word, or part of speech, the unknown word is in the English language. For example, our language is made up of nine different types of words such as
nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs
.
Try replacing the unknown word with another word with the same type of grammar. Does it make sense?

Examples:

Having fallen into the
gorge
between the mountains, the adventurer could not climb back up.

She
bungled
our attempt at a world record when she sneezed near our house of cards.

Contemporary
artists learn from the techniques of artists of long ago.


Context Clue Type:
Inference
Simply use what the sentence is trying to say to
infer
the meaning of the unknown word.

Examples:

After the powerful tornado, the supply of food and water was
sparse
.

A little soap and wax will help your car's finish
revert
to its original condition.

The
industrious
children used simple items found around the house to build a massive fort in the yard.
Full transcript