Tag Archives: context clues

Meticulous (adj)

Because it is a very useful word–indeed, when it’s needed, few others will suffice–here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective meticulous. It means “marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details.” I submit that this is a word students should know and be able to use before they graduate high school.

But what do you think?

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Slipshod (adj)

I don’t know how often it is used these days, but if you have an idea that your students should know it and understand how to use it, here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective slipshod. It means, for the purposes of this document, “shabby,” “careless,” and “slovenly.”

Its primary meaning, as it sounds and dating from 1580, is “wearing loose shoes or slippers.” But it also means “down at the heel.” All of this is to say that this was almost certainly a Word of the Day at Merriam Webster at the height of the first pandemic surge in the late winter and early spring of 2020.

Wait: has this really continued for almost two years now?

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Pulchritude (n)

While it is far from a high-frequency word (which means I almost certainly wrote it during the height of the first wave of the Covid pandemic, when it popped up as the Word of the Day at Merriam-Webster), here is a context clues worksheet on the noun pulchritude. It means “physical comeliness,” i.e. “beauty.” An old friend of mine would refer affectionately to his wife as a “pulchritudinous little plumcake,” which is the first time and place I heard the word.

In any case, the word stems from the Latin root pulcher. As Merriam Webster puts it, Pulcher hasn’t exactly been a wellspring of English terms…”. While I am not a betting man, if I were, I would wager that Pulcinella, a figure from commedia dell’arte (and namesake of the superb ballet by Igor Stravinsky) has a name that originates with pulcher.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Allocate (vt)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the transitive verb allocate. It means both “to apportion for a specific purpose or to particular persons or things, distribute” and “to set apart or earmark, designate.” Because I was working in an economics-and-finance-themed high school when I prepared this, I suspect I meant students to understand and use it in the sense of allocating capital.

This verb is always used transitively, and never intransitively, so don’t forget your direct object: you must allocate something.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Equivocate (vi)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the verb equivocate. This verb is used only intransitively–so not only is a direct object not required, it would be an error to use one with equivocate. This document’s context clues are keyed to the definition “to avoid committing oneself in what one says.”

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Devious (adj)

Given the state of ethical life in the United States, I’d like to thing that this context clues worksheet on the adjective devious would bring the word into more frequent usage. It means, as the context clues in this document point toward, “not straightforward,” “cunning,” and “deceptive.” Since there is a lot of this going around, we should supply students a word to use to describe it.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Fanciful (adj)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective fanciful. The context in these sentences seeks to elicit the definition “marked by fancy or unrestrained imagination rather than by reason and experience.” This is not, I stipulate, a high-frequency word in English. At the same time, when you’re reaching for its definition when writing prose, few other words will do.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Fascism (n)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the noun fascism. I can’t pretend that this five-sentence will do much more than assist students in inferring the most basic meaning of this complex political term of art. It might, therefore, be either a good place to start or a good refresher. But it you want students to understand fascism thoroughly, not a bad idea at the moment, this worksheet will only introduce the word itself and its basic dimensions of authoritarianism.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Vulgar (adj)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective vulgar. It means, in the context these sentences supply, “lacking in cultivation, perception, or taste,” “coarse,” “morally crude, undeveloped, or unregenerate,” and “gross.” I don’t recall using this in the classroom, but I remember vividly writing it the day after a former president mocked a disabled reporter.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Farrago (n)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the noun farrago. It means “a confused mixture” and “hodgepodge.” I have to believe that this was a Word of the Day from Merriam-Webster during the pandemic lock-down, and, with little else to do, I wrote this. I guess I’ll add it to the growing, and therefore mildly embarrassing, list of words on this blog that students really don’t need to know.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.