Learning Word Parts from Context Clues
1. ary
■ It’s customary for players to shake hands with their opponents after a game.
■ A large colourful sign marked the boundary between the two states.
ary (a) does (b) does not relate to the word to which it’s attached.
2. co, col, com, con, cor
■ In an impressive display of civic pride, the downtown merchants cooperated when they remodelled their storefronts in the same style.
■ This summer, three of my friends and I have decided to collaborate in painting houses.
■ Luis Rodriguez, my companion in college, is now a dentist in Minnesota.
■ George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were contemporaries.
■ Coughing is positively correlated to smoking.
co, col, com, con, and cor mean to (a) separate (b) combine.
3. il, im, in, ir
■ Did you know it’s illegal for businesses to open on Sundays in my community?
■ The day after playing softball for the fi rst time this spring, I was practically immobile from soreness.
■ The celebrity was inconspicuous at the football game because she was wearing sunglasses and a heavy long coat as well as a hat.
■ The judge dismissed the evidence as irrelevant.
il, im, in, and ir change a word to its (a) original (b) opposite meaning.
4. de
■ How much does a new car depreciate in value the first year?
■ The trees that had been toppled by storms through the years were in various stages of decomposition.
de means move (a) toward (b) away from.
5. er, or, ist
■ My cousin is a rancher in Montana.
■ Adele would like to become a high school counselor.
■ Vic is fun to be around because he’s such a humorist.
er, or, and ist refer to a person who (a) does (b) doesn’t do what the base word indicates.
6. pre
■ After the previews were shown, the feature movie began.
■ The staff had prearranged the room for the banquet, so the guests were able to be seated immediately.
pre means (a) before (b) after.
7. re
■ Mr. Lucas had to revarnish the table after it was stained by candle drippings.
■ The Rapozas had such a good vacation in British Columbia that they are planning to revisit this Canadian province next year.
re means to (a) avoid (b) repeat.
8. ex
■ The dentist reluctantly decided he would have to extract the patient’s tooth.
■ Oranges, which are shipped in abundance from Florida and California, are a major export of the United States.
ex means (a) in (b) out.
9. ing
■ Della is printing her answers to the essay questions.
■ Gabe is constructing a model of the house he plans to build next year.
ing Helps to express the action of (a) interjections (b) verbs.
10. un
■ The defense lawyer contended the accident was caused by the waiter, so he feels it would be unjust to make his client pay damages.
■ The cows wandered out of the pasture when the gate was left unlatched.
un means (a) with (b) not.

Learning Challenging Words from Context Clues
1. quandary – noun
■ Bert is in a quandary because he doesn’t know which friend to believe.
■ The quandary the coach is facing is which players should start tonight’s game.
quandary has to do with difficulty in making (a) decisions (b) excuses.
2. consensus – noun
■ The family consensus was to visit Washington, D.C., the first week in April.
■ We were in consensus that it was the best movie of the year.
consensus has to do with general (a) obedience (b) agreement.
3. incongruous – adjective
■ Juan’s friends think it’s incongruous that he can’t stand the sight of blood even though he’s planning to become a doctor.
■ It’s incongruous to me that Lucia, who never goes out of her way to make friends, is often the person others turn to for advice.
incongruous is related to (a) inconsistency (b) intelligence.
4. debilitate – verb
■ Fad diets not only don’t work, but they may also debilitate one’s health.
■ Glenn’s hard life as a cross-country trucker began to debilitate his health when he was in his early forties.
debilitate means (a) weakening (b) strengthening.
5. hedonist – noun
■ When John first went to college, he became such a hedonist he almost flunked out after his first semester; his endless partying gave him little time
for studying.
■ The movie star has the reputation of being a hedonist: she is often pictured in newspapers and magazines in nightclubs and gambling casinos with other
A hedonist is best known for seeking (a) support (b) fun.
6. precocious – adjective
■ Mozart was a precocious child, as he was giving piano concerts and composing classical music before he was ten years old.
■ My grandfather thinks his three-year-old granddaughter is precocious because she can count to twenty, but I don’t think such ability is unusual for a child her age.
precocious has to do with demonstrating ability at an (a) early stage of life
(b) unusual place.
7. reconciliation – noun
■ After a reconciliation was reached between the workers and management, everyone returned to work.
■ The reconciliation finally agreed upon by the disputing brothers resulted in the property being evenly divided between them.
reconciliation involves (a) frequency (b) agreement.
8. extricate – verb
■ Pete says the only way he can extricate his car from the ditch is by calling a tow truck.
■ Justin extricated himself from the embarrassing situation by pretending he had to make a telephone call.
extricate is associated with (a) separating (b) repairing.
9. meandering – verb
■ Yesterday, I ran into one of my old high school flames while I was meandering
around the mall.
■ The children were told not to go meandering through the neighbourhood but to stay in their own yard.
meandering means to (a) disobey (b) wander.
10. unethical – adjective
■ Their unethical business practices resulted in a number of lawsuits being fi led against them.
■ Unquestionably, the unethical activities of her top assistant will make it more difficult for the mayor to be reelected.
unethical describes behaviour that is (a) dishonest (b) bold.

Matching Challenging Words and Definitions

Write each word before its definition.
quandary incongruous hedonist reconciliation meandering consensus debilitate precocious extricate unethical
1. advanced in mind or skills at an early age
2. wander or ramble about
3. free from a difficult situation
4. to make weak or feeble
5. dishonest, improper, dishonourable
6. one who seeks pleasure above all else
7. reaching harmony after a disagreement
8. out of step with one another, not in agreement
9. general agreement
10. predicament, difficulty

In each space, write the appropriate word from those listed below.
quandary incongruous hedonist reconciliation meandering consensus debilitate precocious extricate unethical
1. At the age of seven, Anders displayed a(n) ability —————– to handle many of the chores associated with operating his grandfather’s farm.
2. Ancient Romans seldom bathed because they believed frequent baths would ————— their strength.
3. It would ———– before me to tell you what she told me in confidence.
4. Alec went ————– through the streets of Hollywood by himself.
5. The golfer took five strokes to —————– his ball from the sand trap.
6. The of —————– the committee was that it would be wiser to build a new school rather than trying to repair the present one.
7. Ron was quite a(n) ————- in his younger days, but he’s given up his wild ways since he got married.
8. Ashley finds it ————— that her roommate complains all the time about her boyfriend yet continues to go out with him.
9. Do you think the between the ————— feuding couple will last?
10. Catherine found herself in a —————- as she stood in front of her closet trying to choose the perfect outfit.

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