Meaning of Words

Kristin Fracchia
Lesson by Kristin Fracchia
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This lesson is about Meaning of Words Questions, also known was Word in Context Questions. So these are the questions on the test that give you, or refer you, to a word in the text and ask you to basically define it. Say what it most nearly means. So let's talk about a strategy for answering these questions, and then we are going to take a look at an example.

Put a blank in the sentence where the word or phrase appears. Okay. So you're going to see that in a sentence, there is a word that we are trying to define, cross it out, put a blank there, because what we need to do is come up with our own answer for the blank. And this forces us to pay attention to understand the sentence. And what it's trying to communicate if we have to come up with our own answer for it.

And then check to see what answer choice matches up best with your answer. Now you may not find that you're answer, what you wrote in appears as an answer choices. That's fine, we're looking for the closest synonym. And you want to be really careful to be checking all of the answer choices back into the sentence, because maybe you missed something, maybe you're a little bit off.

So read them all back in. Now, let's go ahead and try this out with a question. As it is used in the highlighted portion, conspire with most nearly means. So let's go to the passage, and we are going to just cross out conspire with here, we're gonna get rid of it. Because we are gonna come up with our own answer here.

So the costumes blank the other cinematic features, generating a symbolic network for telling a story through dress. Well, I would say the costumes work with the other cinematic features. They go along with, they compliment maybe, maybe that's another option you might write in there. Don't worry if it's awkward.

You're just trying to get closest to the meaning here. So let's go ahead and work through this. All right, so here's our sentence here. We crossed out conspire, we put a blank in, and we said work with the other cinematic features. Now here's our question again.

Conspire with most nearly means, well, I wrote in work with, so combine with sounds pretty good. Agree with maybe sounds pretty good too, so that's okay. We picked something, or that was a little vague, or maybe this is just a harder question and we need to go onto our next step and read all the answer choices back in.

The costumes scheme with the other cinematic features, generating a symbolic network for telling a story through dress. Well that sounds kind of sinister. It's not really scheming with them. B, the costumes combine with the other cinematic features, generating a symbolic network for telling a story through dress.

Well, that sounds pretty good. The costumes agree with the other cinematic features, generating a symbolic network for telling a story through dress. It doesn't sound terrible, but not as good as combine. It's not really agreeing with the other cinematic features, it's combining with, it's working with them.

So maybe not the best answer. Connive with, the costumes, connive with the other cinematic features, generating a symbolic network for telling a story through dress. Well, this sounds pretty sinister as well, too, and that is a synonym for scheme. So, we wanna be really careful here because this is a classic example of what the test does.

Conspire with, the original phrase here, well, that sounds kind of sinister too. It sounds like you were conspiring to overthrow a monarch or something like that. But, it's not being used in a sinister fashion in the sentence. And that's why it's so important that we cross it off and put a blank there and write in our own answer so we make sure we get the right definition, which is often not the most obvious.

If we were looking for the most obvious definition of conspire, well we might pick scheme. Or you might pick, connive with, but it's not actually true that those are the answers here. And the other thing to pay attention to here is that Scheme and Connive. Well because they are pretty synonymous they can't both be right, so you wanna be really careful of that as well too.

There's no justification for why we should be picking one of those over the other. So we're often looking for secondary definitions here. And that is how we come up with combine, the costumes combine with the other cinematic features, but that's why its really important that we also read in all of our answer choices. So to recap, we put a blank in the sentence where the word or phrase appears.

Then come up with your own answer for that blank. Then check to see which answer choice matches up with your answers. And finally read all of the answer choices back into the sentence to check and make sure you didn't miss anything. So that's our strategy for these meaning of words questions.

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