How can I guess new vocabulary from context?
- Quickly underline two words you don’t know then stop.
- How could you discover the meaning of those new words?
Of course, we can check the dictionary, or just skip them, but sometimes, it is useful to develop our vocabulary skills by guessing the meaning from context (ie. the words and ideas around it).
When you meet a new word…
- read before and after the word and ask yourself some of the questions below:
If there is not enough information in the context to help you guess, then you need your dictionary.
Task: Guessing new wordsfrom context
- Find words in a text you’ve read that are new to you – underline them.
- What do you think the words might mean? Use some of the strategies above to help you guess.
- Write your ideas in column 1 below.
Now use your dictionary to check the meaning of each of your words.
- How close were you? Did you get the general idea?
- Note down any difference in meaning in column 2 above.
- You could also note any other useful information from the dictionary (eg. stress / a collocation)
Now, why not teach a friend the meaning of your new words or try to use them in your speaking or writing.