Using context clues

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  • 1. Other Vocabulary Strategies Developmental Reading

2. 3.

  • Aids in discovering meanings of unknown words
  • Clues may be words, phrases, or sentences surrounding the unknown word


  • 1.SEMANTIC CLUES are derived from the meaning of the words co-occurring with the unknown word.
  • - used together to unlock meaning of unknown words.
  • Kinds:
  • a.DEFINITION CLUE A word may bedirectly defined in the context.
  • Ex: Theregisteris the book in which the names of the people are kept.


  • b.THE APPOSITIVE CLUE may offer a synonym or description of the word
  • Ex:Euthanasia , mercy killing in plain language, is a very controversial issue.


  • c.COMPARISON OR CONTRAST CLUE may give away the words meaning
  • Ex: Like her surprised mother, Mila wasalsotaken abackby the news.
  • She is not lazy to study. On thecontrary, she is verydiligent .


  • Ex:Lucys unusualtimiditybothered her parents. They wondered why she would not even want to talk to any visitor. She would rather lock herself to her room. In school, her teachers were complaining too, why she was too shy or withdrawn to join any class activity.


  • 2.SYNTACTIC CLUES- are contained in the grammar of our language. These clues will help the reader discover that the word is a noun, an action word, etc.
  • Ex: An ogler ogled (looked atwith amorous intentions)ogledly(flirtatiously).


  • 3. PRESENTATION CLUESrefer to the other aids that the author may use such as:
  • Use of footnotes
  • b. Use of types of prints, e.g. boldface, italics
  • c. Use of visuals, e.g. diagrams, tables, graphs, pictures
  • d. Organizational devices, e.g. indention, use of headings and sub-headings, etc.


  • EXERCISE 1: Determine the meaning of each underlined word by using context clues.
  • 1. The witness gave a wrong statement. The lawyerrefutedit.
  • a. disapprovedb. changedc. erased
  • 2. Attempts to solve the problems weresporadic , not well planned.
  • a. excellentb. spontaneousc. scattered


  • 3. Let us beinquisitive . Let us ask questions why things are done this way or that way.
  • a. accurate b. smart c. questioning
  • 4. Themeticulousprofessor checked the test papers herself. No wonder, there was not a single error in the scoring.
  • a. brightb. careful c. intelligent


  • 5. I told you about my plan already, but I willreiterateit now.
  • a. repeatb. ask c. explain
  • 6. Ecumenism couldheralda new kind of Christian brotherhood.
  • a. mean b. introduce c. allow


  • 7. The housing project was meant toalleviatethe miserable housing condition of the poor.
  • a. end b. worsen c. lessen
  • 8. You tell hisinnatecharacteristics, not the acquired ones.
  • a. bad b. inborn c. good


  • 9. The dean is agregariousperson, always seeking and enjoying the company of others.
  • a. happy b. sociablec. strict
  • 10. The laborers were given anintensivetraining before they were allowed to work on the delicate project.
  • a. more seriousb. easierc. more enjoyable


  • EXERCISE 2: Determine the meaning of the underlined word in each sentence. Write your answers.
  • 1. Thecrypticmessage, which looks as mysterious and secretive as it is, can hardly be read.
  • ______________________________________
  • 2. In the alphabet,c precedes d . ______________________________________


  • 3. I play adualrole in the family. I am both father and mother to my sisters.
  • ___________________________________
  • 4. The managerrevokesprivileges when employees become less efficient.
  • ___________________________________


  • 5. The ugly little girlperceivedherself as beautiful because her mother told her so.
  • ________________________________
  • 6. Isnt it wonderful for parents to producesiblingswho are very much different from one another? ________________________________


  • 7. After the operation, the basketball player no longer played basketball. He was only allowed to engage insedentarygames.
  • ___________________________________
  • 8. You may use short quotations but not longexcerpts .
  • ___________________________________


  • 9. I like to work with sincere people. I abhorhypocrites .
  • _____________________________
  • 10. Hisfeignedillness made the teacher excuse his absences.
  • _____________________________