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Context Clues


Context Clues

Context Clues

Learning Objectives

In this lesson, you will focus on the following objectives:
Vocabulary: Inferring meaning from context clues.

Context Clues

Vocabulary Terms
  1. The context of a word refers to the words and sentences surrounding a given word.
  2. Synonyms are words that have similar meanings.
Literature Connection

What does swooned mean in the quotation below? 

“I had swooned; but still will not say that all of consciousness was lost.”
—Edgar Allan Poe, from “The Pit and the Pendulum”

Sometimes the context in which a word appears provides clues to its meaning. That the narrator “will not say that all of consciousness was lost 

One or more kinds of context clues may be provided.

  1. Context sometimes provides an example of a word’s meaning:
    Falling into a dark pit would certainly be a calamity
  2. Context may provide a restatement or a definition of a word:
    Tom Walker was gullible, and his wife was just as easy to fool. 
  3. Context may provide a synonym for the unfamiliar word:
    The money was sufficient—enough for everyone there. 
  4. Context may also supply an antonym—a word or phrase with an opposite meaning—to contrast with the unfamiliar word.
    Many would fear a talking raven, but not the dauntless narrator.


Context Clues Tip

When you are asked for the meaning of a word that appears in a reading passage, you will usually find one or more context clues near the word.

Context Clues Quiz

Use context clues to infer the meaning of each underlined word. Identify the type of context clue used to uncover its meaning.

Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎


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