Context Clues: Definitions, Examples or Restatements
Then why not use our learning videos, and practice for school with learning games.Try for 30 Days
Basics on the topic Context Clues: Definitions, Examples or Restatements
Context Clues: Definitions, Examples & Restatements
When we read a difficult text with some unfamiliar words, we can use context clues to help determine their meaning.
Context clues are hints found within a sentence, paragraph, or passage that help the reader with understanding new words.
The most common context clues are: definition context clue, example context clue, and restatement context clue.
Context Clues: Definitions
Sometimes the author gives the definition to a complex word inside the same sentence or in one of the following sentences, to make sure the reader understands what the text is about. For example:
Plants get energy through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process through which plants convert sunlight into energy.
The challenging word here is photosynthesis. The author provides a definition context clue by telling the meaning of photosynthesis in the next sentence.
When having a definition within a sentence, a definition context clue often uses commas or brackets to show where the vocabulary word is defined:
Rafflesia (the world’s largest flower) can be found in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Rafflesia is a tricky word in this sentence. We can determine its meaning by looking at the definition in brackets. Now we know that rafflesia is the world’s largest flower.
Context Clues: Examples
An author can give an example of an unfamiliar word to give the reader a connection to it. Here is an example of an example context clue:
Contrary to popular belief, spiders are not insects. They belong to the group of arachnids, together with scorpions, mites and ticks.
The author gives examples of what arachnids are. This tells us that arachnids are a group of animals that includes spiders, scorpions, mites and ticks.
Context Clues: Restatement
Sometimes an author uses a context clue of restatement. It means that they restate the challenging word and say it in a different way. They can restate a group of words or a synonym. Here is one of the synonym restatement clue examples:
The elephant we saw in a safari park was enormous, bigger than all the other animals.
The author restates the word enormous, mentioning a synonym big in the same sentence. It helps us understand that enormous means very big.
Context Clues – Summary
Let’s review what we learned today about context clues.
We use context clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words in a text. Context clues are hints found within a sentence, paragraph, or passage.
An author can provide the definition of the word within a sentence or in one of the following sentences. They can also give an example of a word to help the reader build a connection to it. The author can restate the word and say it in a different way.
|Authors can provide a definition to a complex word inside the sentence or in one of the following ones.
|An author can provide an example of an unfamiliar word to give the reader a connection to it.
|An author restates the challenging word by saying it in a different way or using synonyms.
|"We went to the Marine Museum to see gondolas, which are traditional Italian boats."
|"Most popular pets are mammals, such as cats, dogs, rabbits and hamsters."
|"He was delighted. He had no idea he could be that happy."
Now you know how to deal with unfamiliar words in texts! If you want more practice and context clue examples of definition, example, or restatement, check out our video!
Frequently Asked Questions about Context Clues
Transcript Context Clues: Definitions, Examples or Restatements
Koko and Pip are riding on a bus on their way to a camping excursion in the Outback. “I am so excited about this camping trip! I’ve always wanted to go to the Outback!” “Yes, this is going to be quite the adventure. Let’s do more research so we know what to expect.” Koko and Pip are reading about a topic they don't know a lot about and are coming across unfamiliar words. We can help them determine the meaning of these words by using context clues: definitions, examples or restatements. Readers use strategies to help them understand difficult texts. When reading texts and coming across unfamiliar words, we use context clues to help determine the meaning. Context clues are hints found within a sentence, paragraph or passage that help the reader with understanding new words. One type of context clue is when the author gives the definition of the word inside the sentence or in one of the following sentences. They can also give an example of an unfamiliar word to give the reader a connection to it, or they can restate the challenging word and say it in a different way. Using context clues makes us stronger readers by helping us learn new vocabulary. Let's read some of the information Koko found about the Outback. The Australian Outback is a vast and desolate region. Although it covers a large portion of the continent, very few people actually call this area home. The author uses the words ‘vast’ and ‘desolate’ to describe the Outback. To determine the meaning of these unfamiliar words, we can look to the next sentence for context clues. In this sentence, the author restates the meaning of the word ‘vast’ by saying it covers a large portion of the continent. This tells us that vast also means covering a large area. The sentence also says that very few people live there. This restates the meaning of ‘desolate’ as an area that is deserted of people. Uluru is a natural landmark and the world's largest monolith. A monolith is a very large, upright piece of stone. The unfamiliar word is ‘monolith’. The author uses the definition context clue by telling the exact meaning of monolith in the next sentence. A monolith is a very large, upright piece of stone. The Outback is home to many snakes and lizards that make themselves inconspicuous by blending in with their surroundings. The author describes the snakes and lizards as inconspicuous. How do we determine the meaning of this word? The author gives an example of what it means by saying they blend in with their surroundings. This tells us that inconspicuous means to hide yourself from being noticed. Let's practise using context clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words. Nitmiluk Gorge is a deep gorge by the Katherine River. A gorge is a narrow valley between mountains with steep rocky walls and a running stream. What does gorge mean? It's a narrow valley between mountains with steep rocky walls and a running stream. The Outback is an arid, or dry region of Australia. What does arid mean? It's an area with a dry climate. The Outback has many types of vegetation such as trees, wildflowers and grasses. What is vegetation? Vegetation means the types of plants that grow in an area. Koko and Pip look like they might be lost. While they stop for directions, let's review. Remember, when reading texts and coming across unfamiliar words, we use context clues to help determine the meaning. An author can give the definition of the word inside the sentence or in one of the following ones. They can give an example of an unfamiliar word to give the reader a connection to it, or they can restate the challenging word and say it in a different way. "May I help you?" "Why does that always happen? I just wanted to tell them to go that way."
Context Clues: Definitions, Examples or Restatements exercise
How can we understand unfamiliar words when reading?Hints
Looking for the meaning of unfamiliar words in texts helps us to understand them.
What is another word for meaning?
We can look for the author rewriting things in a different way to help us understand unfamiliar words as well as providing examples of them in the text.Solution
To understand unfamiliar words while reading, they use strategies like looking for definitions, examples, or restatements in the sentences.
Use context clues to understand the meaning of vast.Hints
The author uses a synonym or restatement to help the reader understand the meaning of vast.
The context clue for vast is related to the geographical description of the Outback.
Pay attention to the information about how much of the continent it covers and use that to infer the meaning of vast.Solution
The author restates the meaning of vast by saying it covers a large portion of the continent.
How does the author help the reader understand the word inconspicuous?Hints
The author provides a description of how the snakes and lizards behave.
Focus on this behavioural aspect to work out the meaning of inconspicuous.
Would standing out from their surroundings help snakes and lizards to not be found by predators or prey?Solution
The author provides an example by stating that the snakes and lizards blend in with their surroundings, helping the reader understand that inconspicuous means to hide from being noticed.
What does plateau mean?Hints
Pay close attention to the characteristics or features described in the sentence.
Look for words or phrases that provide details about the physical attributes of the plateau.
Imagine the scene described in the sentence.
Envision a flat surface extending for miles.
How does this mental image align with the concept of a plateau?Solution
Sometimes the author gives the definition to a complex word inside the same sentence or in one of the following sentences, to make sure the reader understands what the text is about.
We need to look for the context clue that describes the flat surface extending for miles, indicating that a plateau is a flat, elevated area.
What does arid mean?Hints
Not much can usually grow in an arid place.
If conditions are fertile for plants, they usually have enough rain and water to help the plants to grow.Solution
The correct answer is dry.
Arid places are dry with little or no rain making it difficult for a lot of plants to grow there.
Use context clues to find the meaning of the unfamiliar word.Hints
Consider the emotional state of the explorer in the sentence.
Look for words or phrases that convey feelings or emotions, and use this emotional context to infer the meaning of trepidation.
The author gave examples of the unfamiliar word to give the reader a connection to it.Solution
We need to look for surrounding words or phrases that might give clues about the explorer's feelings, helping us understand that trepidation means a feeling of fear or anxiety.
Sorting Objects into Categories— Let's Practise!
Identifying Characters & Setting— Let's Practise!
What are Settings?
Pictures Add Information!
Understanding Setting From Illustrations and Words
Using Context Clues and Illustrations to Find Meaning
Understanding Story Plots from Actions and Dialogue
Character Points of View
How Characters Respond to Events
How Characters' Actions Affect a Story
Compare and Contrast: Themes
Illustrations: Mood, Characters and Setting
Understanding Characters from Actions and Dialogue
A Character's Thoughts, Words and Actions
Making Inferences in a Story
Making Inferences from a Narrative Text
Functions of Adjectives
Finding the Main Idea Using Key Details
Strategies to Determine the Main Idea in an Informational Text
Types of Figurative Language
Finding Evidence in Information Texts
Supporting the Author's Reasons
Making Inferences in Information Texts
Context Clues: Definitions, Examples or Restatements
What is an Idiom?—Let's Practise
Similes and Metaphors
Comparing Two Sources on the Same Topic
Author's Point of View
Whose point of view? — Let's Practise!
Identifying Text Features
Making Predictions About a Story
Greek Mythology and Allusions
Adages and Proverbs
Third Person Point of View: Limited, Omniscient, and Objective