Critical thinking: University, Literature, Science and Music

It is unlikely that you will know every word in a text. It is therefore important to work out the meaning of unfamiliar words in context and, perhaps, familiar words in new contexts. This is necessary even if you have a dictionary as it does not know the exact context in which the word is being used. 

Is it necessary to know the exact meaning of a particular word? Often a rough meaning is enough (does the word have a positive or negative meaning?). First, though, you need to decide how important the word is for you and your subject. 

Context clues give an idea of what an unfamiliar word might mean. Such clues are found in both the text and/or illustrations surrounding the unknown word. Sometimes the context provides a direct explanation of the meaning of a new word. The four different types of context clues that can be used to infer a word’s meaning are:

Definition - the author explains the meaning of the word in the sentence. 
Each tribal group, identified by the language it speaks, is an exogamous unit; that is, people must marry outside the group and therefore always marry someone who speaks another language.

Synonym - the author uses a word similar in meaning.
You can exercise in your leisure time, or your free time, to stay physically active.

Antonym - the author uses a word nearly opposite in meaning.
Priscila is so humble and modest that she could never be called haughty.

Example - the author provides one or more example words or ideas.
Devin procrastinated to avoid his homework all day, watching TV, playing video games and even writing thank you cards to his grandparents.