Context clues - Garnet Valley School District

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The words and/or phrases that surround an
unknown word.
When combined with prior knowledge, context
clues give hints to the meaning of unknown words.
They can be found in the same sentence or in
surrounding sentences.
Context Clues Video
Definition
Synonym
Antonym
Comparison and Contrast
Restatement
Example
General Clues
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The definition of the unknown word is directly
stated in the text.
A definition clue is often set off by commas, or
dashes.
Example
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Sometimes the explorers encountered leads, open
channels of water, and were forced to wait until the ice
formed before going on.
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An unknown word is paired with a word having
the same or nearly the same meaning.
A synonym clue is usually set off by a comma.
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Example
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Hurricane Ike caused catastrophic, disastrous damages
in Texas.
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An unknown word is paired with a word that
means the opposite.
Look for clue words that indicate contrast
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but, however, instead of, unlike, on the other hand
Example
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The cashier was polite, unlike the customer, who was
quite curt to her.
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In comparison clues, the writer suggests the
meaning of an unknown word by comparing it to
something similar.
In contrast clues, the writer suggests the meaning
of an unknown word by pointing out the
differences.
Example
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The twins barreled through the living room like a
tornado.
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When a writer restates an unknown word in easier
language, it is a restatement clue.
Usually commas or dashes separate a restatement
clue.
Look for clue words that show restatement
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that is, in other words, and or
Example
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The boy put together a hand-collated set of trading
cards; in other words, he put together a set of trading
cards by hand.
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In an example clue, the writer provides several
words that are examples of an unfamiliar word.
Look for key words that indicate an example is
provided
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for example, for instance, including, such as
Example
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Looking out the window, I could see the beautiful
delphiniums. They were nestled among the roses,
daisies, and daffodils.
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Sometimes you need to infer the meaning of an
unfamiliar word by reading non-specific clues in a
number of sentences.
Remember to look for clues over several sentences.
Example
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Kevin set out the broom, a dustpan, dusting rag,
vacuum cleaner, and three trash bags before beginning
the monumental task of cleaning his bedroom.
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TV411
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Multiple Choice
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Matching
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Applebee, Arthur N. "Vocabulary Handbook."
The Language of Literature. Evanston, IL:
McDougal Littell, 2006. R24-25. Print.
FOR-PD. "Florida Online Reading Professional
Development." University of Central Florida,
2008. Web. 7 Sept. 2011.
<http://www.robeson.k12.nc.us/cms/lib6/N
C01000307/Centricity/Domain/2567/Context
CluesChart.pdf>.
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