Saturday, February 24, 2024

What Are Context Clues? Definition and Examples

If you ask concerning the which means of a phrase, “use context clues” isn’t the reply you count on to listen to. Nonetheless, utilizing context clues is significant for studying comprehension as a method to be taught new phrases independently, with out the help of different individuals or dictionaries. Context clues could not at all times be straightforward, however they’re helpful.

On this information, we clarify precisely learn how to use context clues so you may enhance your English by yourself and at a quicker pace. Beneath, we record the eight most typical forms of context clues and supply context clue instance sentences so you may apply these classes your self.

What are context clues?

Context clues are hints and further info in a sentence or passage that enable you perceive the which means of an unknown phrase. Context clues basically allow you to be taught new phrases with out exterior help, like from a trainer or dictionary.

Context clues are fairly helpful in studying comprehension as a result of they enable you outline tough phrases in English proper then and there, with out having to seek the advice of a dictionary or different supply. This may pace up the studying course of so that you don’t should pause on a regular basis.

Understand that context clues can solely accomplish that a lot; should you take into account them and also you’re nonetheless unclear a few phrase’s which means, it’s finest to only look it up. The place context clues actually turn out to be useful are texts with quite a lot of unknown phrases, or phrases that appear acquainted besides you may’t fairly bear in mind what they imply.

Because the phrase “clue” suggests, context clues require some thought. You must play detective a bit bit by placing all of the clues collectively to get the phrase’s full which means. Typically, meaning utilizing two or extra various kinds of context clues collectively to disclose completely different sides of a phrase’s which means. Beneath, we discuss concerning the common forms of context clues so you recognize what to search for.

8 forms of context clues

Context clues can are available in a wide range of completely different types, however the eight forms of context clues under pop up most frequently. We’ll focus on every intimately within the subsequent sections, together with context clue instance sentences.

in-text definitions



antonyms or distinction

root phrases and affixes

temper or tone

trigger and impact


Kinds of context clues: In-text definitions

The best and most useful kind of context clue is when a definition is supplied instantly within the textual content. Plenty of instances, an appositive or adjective clause will come after an unknown phrase to clarify what it’s.

Context clues instance sentences

Abigail knew that to get a catfish, she must strive backside fishing, a method of dropping the lure to the water ground to catch the fish that dwell there.

The mechanic wants to switch the whole exhaust manifold, which is a collection of pipes that mixes exhaust from completely different locations into one pipe.


Typically, you may guess the definition of a phrase by seeing a few of its examples. It’s possible you’ll be acquainted with among the particular examples with out understanding what class these issues belong to.

Context clues instance sentences

Arthropods like millipedes, dragonflies, and scorpions grew to huge sizes through the Carboniferous interval, about 350 million years in the past.

A few of my favourite cooking elements—soybeans, chickpeas, and lentils—are legumes.


You may simply perceive a brand new phrase should you can inform it has the identical which means as one other phrase you already know. Typically troublesome phrases are used close to a context clue synonym; if you will discover the synonym, you may guess the which means of the unknown phrase.

Context clues instance sentences

We’ll use the meals courtroom as our rendezvous, except you may recommend a greater assembly place.

The coach doesn’t permit taunting, so don’t let her hear you making enjoyable of the opposite crew.

Antonyms or distinction

Antonyms, phrases with reverse meanings, could be context clues like synonyms. Search for sure cue phrases like however, nonetheless, though, or different phrases that recommend a contradiction or distinction. Understand that it’s important to reverse the antonym’s which means to disclose the definition of the unknown phrase.

Context clues instance sentences

Mika appeared genial at first, however after we began discussing politics she grew to become hostile and even impolite.

Though he was prejudiced as an adolescent, his life experiences as an grownup led him to be extra accepting and open-minded. 

Root phrases and affixes

Root phrases are small elements of phrases (referred to as morphemes) that every carry their very own which means. Root phrases can change their which means or phrase class by combining with completely different affixes, the prefixes and suffixes that come earlier than and after phrases. If you happen to’re acquainted with the basis phrases and affixes in an unknown phrase, you may determine its which means.

Context clues instance sentences

The coed selected to focus on dermatology.

(The foundation phrase derma means “associated to pores and skin,” whereas –ology and –tology are suffixes for scientific disciplines. Subsequently, dermatology should be the scientific research of pores and skin.)

To me the film was indescribable . . . as a result of I fell asleep midway by.

(The prefix in- usually negates the which means of the basis phrase that follows, so indescribable should imply “not describable” or “can’t be described.”)

Temper or tone

If you happen to’re struggling to search out the which means of a phrase with context clues, you should utilize the temper or tone of the passage to assist. We’ve mentioned tone versus temper earlier than, however to recap, tone refers to particulars like phrase selection or punctuation and the way they have an effect on the perspective of an article, whereas temper refers to broader writing selections like themes or matters and the way they have an effect on the environment of the textual content as an entire.

Whereas temper or tone could not reveal the exact definition of an unknown phrase, they will nonetheless trace at what sort of phrase it’s. That is higher than nothing when there are not any different context clues current.

Context clues instance sentences

What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous chook of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”
—“The Raven,” Edgar Allen Poe

(If you happen to don’t know what grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, or ominous imply, you may nonetheless guess that their definitions are gloomy and dismal from the temper and tone of the poem.)

He’s jubilant as a flag unfurled—
Oh, a woman, she’d not neglect him.
My very own expensive love, he’s all my world,—
And I want I’d by no means met him.
—“Love Music,” Dorothy Parker

(It’s possible you’ll not know what jubilant means, however you may inform it’s optimistic and complimentary from the remainder of the poem’s tone.)

Trigger and impact

In English, phrases like as a result of, so, due to this fact, and thus present a cause-and-effect relationship. If you happen to perceive the phrases explaining both the trigger or the impact, you may guess the meanings of the opposite phrases so long as you perceive how the connection works.

Context clues instance sentences

She needed to decorate her finest for the promenade, so she requested to borrow her mom’s most interesting adornments.

As a result of of the kalopsia from his pet love, he couldn’t see any of the warnings or crimson flags.


Final, you may put varied forms of context clues collectively to deduce the which means of a brand new phrase. Merely have a look at the remainder of the sentence or passage and evaluate the phrases you do perceive; does their which means enable you with the unknown phrase or phrases?

Context clues instance sentences

The troopers are drained, unmotivated, and falling into despair; we desperately want to lift morale.

All the things I did or stated, he complimented. It was cute at first, however by the tip of the night time it obtained annoying. I’m by no means relationship a sycophant once more.

Context clues FAQs

What are context clues?

Context clues are hints and further info in a sentence or passage that enable you perceive the which means of an unknown phrase. Context clues basically allow you to be taught new phrases with out exterior help like a trainer or dictionary.

What are some widespread forms of context clues?

Context clues could be something that helps you perceive the which means of an unknown phrase. Nonetheless, among the most typical and efficient forms of context clues are in-text definitions, listed examples, synonyms, antonyms, root phrases/affixes, temper/tone, trigger and impact, and inferences.

Why are context clues necessary to studying comprehension?

If you happen to encounter phrases you’ve by no means seen earlier than, context clues may help you outline them proper then and there, with out having to pause to seek the advice of a dictionary or different supply. This may quicken the studying course of so that you don’t should cease to test a dictionary app on a regular basis.

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