Saturday, March 26, 2011

Context Clues for Seventh Grade

We can use context clues of definition and explanation to figure out what a word means.

A definition or explanation directly states or explains a word’s meaning.


  Definition:  "Adverbs, words that describe or add information to verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs, should be used sparingly."    The part highlighted in yellow defines -- right there in the sentence what adverbs are.    That is a context clue of definition.  


Example:   Please select contemporary  realistic fiction books, such as Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli or Hatchet by Gary Paulsen,  for your next book-of-the-month book.    The part highlighted in yellow provides examples -- right there in the sentence -- of contemporary realistic fiction books.  


Example:  Contemporary realistic fiction books, including Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech and  Tangerine by Edward Bloor,  would be appropriate for your next book-of-the-month book. The part highlighted in yellow provides examples -- right there in the sentence -- of contemporary realistic fiction books.  


Definition:   "Some species of frogs have become extinct. They have
completely disappeared from the face of the Earth."  The highlighted part explains what it means to become extinct.   I found this sentence at 


Definition:  "The zebra’s stripes are an example of a kind of camouflage called disruptive coloration.  It is called disruptive because it disrupts—or breaks up—the outline
of the animal."  The highlighted portion defines the word "disrupts."     I found this sentence at


 The following chart is borrowed from Prentice Hall's Literature New Mexico All-In-One  (NM-Gr11-A10.pdf)

Context Clue Guidelines
Use this table as a reference tool in using common context clues to figure out the
meaning of new words.

Type of Context Clue
Look/Listen for…

General: You’ll want to buy a monitor
with the best resolution you can get. After
all, do you really want to risk having your
graphics or video look grainy or blurry?
clues to meaning that often appear over
several sentences

Definition: The term “conventional
keyboard” usually refers to the design
that features the letters QWERTY in the
upper left.
linking verbs such as is or means, or for
appositives, phrases that name a noun
(there’s one in this sentence)

Example: As a shopper, be on the lookout
for deals that already include peripherals
such as a keyboard or mouse.
signal words such as like, such as, including,
and for example

Synonym: A Website’s front page is
usually linked to the site’s domain name.
Also called a “home page,” it often
includes a search function for the site.
signal words such as likewise, also, too,
and as

Antonym: I expected downloading
to be fast, but it took forever to save the
e-mailed photos to my computer.
signal words such as on the other hand,
however, although, and in contrast