Here is a context clues worksheet on the verb contend. This verb is used both intransitively and transitively. For the context clues in this sentences, the two intransitive definitions, “to strive or vie in contest or rivalry or against difficulties,” and “to strive in debate” are the ones students will probably most quickly infer.
It’s worth mentioning, I guess, that the transitive definitions of contend, to wit “maintain,” “assert,” “to struggle for,” “and contest” don’t go too far afield of the intransitive meanings.
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