Presentation on theme: "There are several ways to figure out words you don't know, such as looking them up in a dictionary or figuring them out using word parts. Another, possibly."— Presentation transcript:
There are several ways to figure out words you don't know, such as looking them up in a dictionary or figuring them out using word parts. Another, possibly more efficient way to figure out unfamiliar words is to use the context.
Using context means to figure out what words mean by how they are used in the sentence or paragraph where they appear. There are several different context clues you can use to help you figure out unfamiliar words.
Authors often use punctuation clues to help the reader. Punctuation clues might include commas, dashes, or parentheses.
Mary retained, kept, the deed to her mother's house. I wonder if that fruit is edible, able to be eaten. The company is going through many transitions—changes. Children are often loquacious—very talkative—and active. Bigamy—marriage to two spouses at the same time—is not legal in the United States.
Many U.S. companies are downsizing -- or reducing the number of employees -- order to save money and increase the amount of profit that the companies can make. What does downsizing mean? Sports are universal, and very few people have not succumbed, or given in, to their lure at one time or another. What does succumbed mean? The restaurant specializes in European gourmet foods such as paella (a rice based dish from Spain), crepes (an egg based food from France), and torte (a fruit pastry dish from Germany). What is paella? What is a crepe? What is a torte?
Authors also use bold and/or italics to make a reader aware of an important term. Often the definition of the word in bold or italics follows.
computer The computer is a machine that accepts input, processes data, stores information, and produces output. Archaeology Archaeology is the scientific study of prehistoric cultures by excavation of their remains.
He was found running down the street after curfew, and his parents were penalized. The ticket read: "Illegally in the streets at 1:00A.M." Now he would have to pay the ticket with his own money. What does penalized mean? The boy knew that the lake was teeming, and overflowing with bass, so he brought a big net to help get the fish in the boat. What does teeming mean? Thomas went to the apex of the mountain, and because it was so high, he had to take a tank of oxygen with him. What does apex mean? Her quiet, timid ways made us guess at her true feelings about the story because she kept her ideas to herself and never spoke in the class. What does timid mean?
Authors may use word clues such as Synonyms —words with almost the same meaning Antonyms —words opposite in meaning—near the unfamiliar term.
Reducing cholesterol has a number of beneficial results. One positive outcome is reducing the risk of heart disease. (synonym clue) I despise liver, but I adore steak. (antonym clue)
Biologists use an elaborate taxonomy, classification system, to categorize animals and plants. What does taxonomy mean? Syntax (grammar) refers to the rules used to put words together to create phrases and sentences. What does syntax mean? The psychological significance of a tic, such as eye blinking, is covert, or concealed, to the person who has the tic. What does covert mean? He surreptitiously packed his clothing and secretly slipped away; his absence was not noticed for nearly two days. What does surreptitiously mean?
In addition to the above context clues, authors will sometimes define important terms in the margins of text.
Archaeology has long been embraced as a key to unlocking the mysteries and secrets of past civilizations. Archaeology —the scientific study prehistoric cultures by excavation of their remains Archaeologists look for many clues when trying to figure out the past. Archaeology has long been embraced as a key to unlocking the mysteries and secrets of past civilizations. Archaeology —the scientific study prehistoric cultures by excavation of their remains Archaeologists look for many clues when trying to figure out the past.
If there is a word that you don’t know BUT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO UNDERSTAND the sentence or the paragraph, you should imagine that there is a blank line there. Then substitute a word that you know in the space. This word will probably be similar in meaning to the word that you don’t know, as long as the sentence still makes sense. In the following paragraph, some words have been left out. Read all the sentences; then go back and fill in the words you think belong in the blanks.
When Columbus made his second to the new in 1494, he sailed too far south, missing Hispaniola, and reaching Jamaica. He went ashore to find fresh water for his, discovered a lake within walking distance, and ordered his sailors to fill the casks with fresh. He knew it was fresh for he had it himself.
You probably had little trouble choosing words to fill in the blanks to make sense of the sentences because of the help you got from the context. The words are: voyage, world, crew, water, tasted.
When you see an unfamiliar word in your reading, pretend there is a blank there instead of a word and fill it in with a word of your own that makes sense in the sentence. In many cases, the word you choose will be close in meaning to the word you don't know.