A context clue is a source of information about a word that helps readers understand the word. This word or phrase offers insight, either directly or indirectly, into the word’s meaning.
Synonyms as Context Clues
- It was an idyllic day; sunny, warm and perfect for a walk in the park.
- She hums continuously, or all the time, and it annoys me.
- The dates are listed in chronological order. They start at the beginning and end with the last event.
- Her animosity, or hatred, of her sister had divided the family.
- Bill felt remorse, or shame, for his harsh words.
- This situation is a conundrum - a puzzle.
Antonyms as Context Clues
- Emma had a lot of anxiety about the exam but I had no worries about it.
- Marty is gregarious, not like his brother who is quiet and shy.
- She is a famous singing star in her country but unknown to the rest of the world.
- I am willing to hike in the mountains, but he is reluctant because it gets so cold walking up and down the trails.
- Avoiding the accident was futile. Both cars did not have time to stop before crashing.
Definitions as Context Clues
- There is great prosperity in the country but many citizens are living in poverty.
- Some celestial bodies, such as the planets and stars, can be seen with the naked eye.
- The manager wanted a weekly inspection, which is a methodical examination of all the equipment.
- There was a lot of tangible evidence, including fingerprints and DNA, to prove them guilty.
- There is a 30 percent chance of precipitation, such as snow or sleet.
Explanations as Context Clues
- The team was elated when they won the trophy.
- During the demonstration, a skirmish broke out and the police were called to restore order.
- The cat has a kind disposition and would never bite or claw anyone.
- His constant questioning of my remarks made him a nuisance.
- Something in the refrigerator has a putrid odor; the smell was rotten when we opened the door.
- He winced in pain when he hit his thumb with the hammer.
Comparisons as Context Clues
- Diane was lethargic and didn’t have the energy to get out of bed.
- The greatest trip I ever took was my expedition to Africa.
- Eating nutritious food is just as important as regular exercise.
- I am determined to graduate with honor and my friend is just as resolute.
- Sometimes he is perplexed by Sudoku puzzles, but others find them much easier to solve than a crossword puzzle.
Contrasts as Context Clues
- The picture of the landscape is picturesque but the one of the old house is ugly.
- The feral cat would not let us pet him, unlike our tame cat.
- Cold weather soon replaced the sweltering heat of summer.
- The hero was virtuous, not like the evil villain.
- The winner of the gold medal was omnipotent against his weaker opponents.
Whether you are someone learning English as a second language or a reader who is trying to build their vocabulary, by knowing the different types of context clues, you may be better able to recognize and understand new words when you are reading.