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Context Clues

English Language Arts, Grade 6

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You are reading and you come to a word you don’t know. You can use context clues to help you determine the word’s meaning. There are four types of context clues. In the examples shown here, the unknown word is boldfaced and the clue is underlined. Description The author realized that the reader might stumble, so the text immedi- ately offers a description to help you understand the unknown word. I didn’t want to risk my life in the makeshift raft because it looked ready to collapse on shore. Example This is similar to description except that the text offers one or more examples for the unknown word. The example(s) may be set off by commas or may be introduced with the words such as, like, including, etc. We studied meteorological events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and microbursts. Synonym The text offers a synonym, or word that means almost the same thing as the unknown word. Ben sighed; he knew from his daughter’s scowl that she would pout for hours. Antonym The text offers an antonym, or word that means the opposite of the unknown word. You may be introduced to an antonym when you see the words although, but, yet, still, so, however, and even though . Although her shoes were caked with mud, the rest of her outfit was impeccable. NOTE: Context clues are not always in the same sentence as the unknown word. Check the sentences before and after, too. First Strategy Cover the unfamiliar word. Reread the sentence. What word would make sense? Second Strategy Look for a description or an example in the text. Look for a synonym in the text. Look for an antonym in the text. Context Clues Visit www.newpathlearning.com for Online Learning Resources. © Copyright NewPath Learning. All Rights Reserved. 92-4060
Read this excerpt from The Count of Monte Cristo , a famous novel by Alexandre Dumas. Determine the meaning of the underlined words from the context. Do not use a dictionary. The news of the arrival of the Pharaon had not yet reached the old man, who, mounted on a chair, was amusing himself by training with trembling hand the sprays of clematis that clambered over the trellis at his window. Suddenly, he felt an arm thrown around his body, and a well-loved voice behind him exclaimed, "Father!" The old man turned around, and, upon seeing his son, he uttered a cry and collapsed into his arms, pale and trembling. "What ails you, dearest father—are you ill?" inquired the youthful sailor, much alarmed. "No, my dear Edmond—no; but I did not expect you, and the joy, the surprise of seeing you so suddenly—I feel as though I am going to perish." "Come, cheer up, father! They say joy never hurts, and thus I came to you without warning. Come now, do smile, instead of looking at me so solemnly. Here I am back from my expedition, and we are going to be happy." "Yes, my boy, so we will," responded the old man. "Come and explain to me all that has befallen you." "God forgive me," exclaimed the young man, "for rejoicing at happiness derived from another's misery, but I did not seek this fortuitous event; it has happened, and I cannot pretend to lament it. The good Captain Leclere is dead, father, and it is probable that I shall have his position. Imagine me a captain at 20, with a hundred louis pay, plus a share in the profits! Is this not more than a penniless sailor like me could ever have hoped for?" clambered: ___________________________________________________ uttered: ______________________________________________________ perish: ______________________________________________________ solemnly: ____________________________________________________ expedition: ___________________________________________________ befallen: _____________________________________________________ derived: _____________________________________________________ fortuitous: ____________________________________________________ lament: ______________________________________________________ penniless: ____________________________________________________ Context Clues Visit www.newpathlearning.com for Online Learning Resources. © Copyright NewPath Learning. All Rights Reserved. 92-4060