Tag Archives: context clues/focus on one word

Abstain (vi)

OK, last but not least this morning, here is a context clues worksheet on the verb abstain, which is in fact Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day today. It is only used intransitively, and it is a word students probably ought to know and be able to use.

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.

Rambunctious (adj)

It was Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day yesterday; I found to my surprise that I don’t already have a context clues worksheet on the adjective rambunctious. I don’t think I need to defend this as a word kids ought to know over time. Whether or not it requires a context clues worksheet–this seems like a word that the circumstances of most schools and classrooms offer many opportunities to drop into that most natural of contexts, casual conversation. A teacher could mention, simply in passing, that students’ exuberant behavior is rambunctious. That’s enough with this word, I would 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.

Menagerie (n)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the noun menagerie. If you’re planning a trip to the zoo, that would be a good time to teach students this nice solid noun. In any case, it is a word students ought to know by the time they walk the boards at their graduation ceremony.

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.

Juncture (n)

At this point, on most days, if I post a context clues worksheet chances are good that it was that day’s Word of the Day at Merriam-Webster. So, on that note, I’ll stop qualifying them as such, because if I am finding it a tedious rhetorical move, I’ll bet you are too.

So, here is a context clues worksheet on the noun juncture. This word has meanings related to junction, but for our purposes, as the worksheet’s context points up, the meaning is “a point of time; esp : one made critical by a concurrence of circumstances.” This is a relatively heavily used work in English, and a strong one, with a Latin pedigree.

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.

Ubiquitous (adj)

It’s Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day today, so, like Pavlov’s dog, I got out an index card and wrote this context clues worksheet on the adjective ubiquitous. It’s of solid, if distant classical origin–ubique means everywhere in Latin–and found its way into English in this form in 1830. Ubiquitous means “existing or being everywhere at the same time : constantly encountered : WIDESPREAD.”

This is an adjective that tends, in any case, to show up in educated discourse.

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.

Delve (vi)

It’s Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day today. It is also a very strong verb from Middle English, and a word that ought to be used in our schools more often. Hence this context clues worksheet on the verb delve. In the years I’ve been a teacher, students haven’t much delved into the world of ideas as skimmed its surface in preparation for high-stakes standardized tests. Maybe it’s time, especially in the second two years of high school, to ask students to delve into something.

In any case, this verb has a transitive use, excavate (i.e., dig) that Merriam-Webster now designates as archaic. However, intransitively, delve means, for our purposes, “to make a careful or detailed search for information” and  “to examine a subject in detail.” If you know delve and use it, I wonder if you find the verb rarely appears without the preposition into, which then has an object following it? He delved into the essays of James Baldwin.

(OK, delve, intransitively, also means “to dig or labor with or as if with a spade.” I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone say they were off to delve out the hog pen, so I left it alone.)

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.

Limpid (adj)

It’s the Word of the Day at Merriam-Webster’s, so here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective limpid. It means “marked by transparency,” “clear and simple in style,” and “absolutely serene and untroubled.” I’ve used it in the first two senses, but not in the third, in this worksheet.

I understand that this is a words students can probably live without. But what would it look like if we asked them to live with it? This is a word commonly used in poetry. If you read any amount of fiction, or even the blurbs on novels, you’ve almost certainly encountered the locution “limpid prose,” as in “In limpid [and feel free to add ‘crystalline’ here] prose. Hiram Famauthor tells the story of Stanley, who overcomes adversity to triumph in life.” So, if you have advanced English language arts students, or kids struggling with literacy, there are at least of couple of reasons to teach them this word.

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.

Purport (vt)

It’s Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day today, so here is a context clues worksheet on the verb purport, which is used only transitively. Don’t forget your direct object: what is the subject of your sentence purporting? Arcane knowledge? Expertise in neurosurgery? A conscience?

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.

Ruddy (adj)

It popped up as the Word of the Day at Merriam-Webster’s last week, but I let it go by. Then I saw it used not once, but twice, in the Harlan Coben thriller I’m reading at the moment, so I wrote up five sentences. Here, therefore, is a context clues worksheet on the adjective ruddy if you can use 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.

Foment (vt)

It’s Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day today, and given how it’s generally used in English–with nouns like rebellion and opposition–now is a good time to post this context clues worksheet on the verb foment. It’s used transitively only, so do not forget your direct object: you must foment 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.