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Try guessing the meaning of the word

Yes, I mean you could try guessing the meaning of a word that is unfamiliar to you. In fact, that is one of the reading skills. That is, you can try to understand what a sentence or paragraph means without looking up the unfamiliar words in the dictionary. 

Try guessing the meaning of the words highlighted in bold:

1. 'The patient's care may be jeopardized, and the patient may be harmed.'

2. 'The health professional has a right to financial remuneration from the patient.'

3. 'No one at that time could have predicted the tumultuous changes in health care.' 

Although you may not be familiar with the three highlighted words, you may have guessed what they mean. Yes, the meaning of 'jeopardized' is similar to that of 'harmed'; 'remuneration' may mean money or something related to 'finance'; 'tumultuous' changes may mean great or exciting changes. 

So you can guess the meaning of an unfamiliar word in the context. That is to say, you don't need to look up every unfamilar word you encounter - don't stop your reading just because you need to consult a dictionary for the meaning of a new or rarely-used word. 

It makes sense because you don't need to recognize every word in a blog or article. Chances are you'll fail to recognize the word next time even though you have looked it up in a dictionary. Don't try to memorize all the new words, some of which you may come across just once in a lifetime.

Avoid reading something that is full of such unfamilar words - it's no fun reading something which is too difficult for you. Sometimes, though, you have to guess the meaning of a word when you're taking an English test, during which you may not be allowed to look up words in a dictionary. It helps, though, if you know how to guess what a word means:))

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Tags: guess, meaning, reading, skill, unfamiliar, word

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Comment by Expector Smith on June 4, 2017 at 3:49

Hi kavin,

Thanks for asking. I assume you mean 'word roots and affixes', for eaxmple, you can guess the meaning of 'intolerable' if you know 'in-' is a prefix which means 'non', and 'tolerable' is the 'root'.

So, yes, it's helpful if you know the meaning of the root or the affix, which composes the word.

Comment by kavin on June 3, 2017 at 17:15

once i was told if you are not getting the meaning of word try to break the word in two parts and try to make a sence with  both words ... does it work ?

Comment by Expector Smith on June 1, 2017 at 14:03

Hi Shekhar,

Thanks for commenting! Yes, sometimes it is hard to guess the meaning of a word, even in context. Look it up in a dictionary if the word appears twice or more times. 

It's also true that English idioms can make it hard for you to understand a sentence. It's a good idea to consult a good dictionary if you're not so sure about an idiom. 

Keep it up!

Comment by Shekhar on June 1, 2017 at 12:56

Thank you ,Smith

I have seen Jeopardize and remuneration but not tumultuous.I have no accurate meaning of these but as I know a little, remuneration means paying some money for an action or a  task. 

Sometimes it is handy to understand the whole sentences without looking for each word in a dictionary.But it is tricky, If there is an idiom or phrase or metaphor.

It is very hard to memorize each and every word and its usage.We often encounter fancy words in Newspaper.But according to a text, we may presume or assume a meaning relate to a situation of the topic. 

Correct my sentence.Thank you.

Comment by Expector Smith on May 24, 2017 at 14:06

Hi Diah,

Yes, sometimes you have to guess the meaning, for example, if you're taking TOEFL and some of the words are not familiar to you - you're not allowed to use a dictionary when sitting a test, so you have to guess the meaning by looking at the context. 

Comment by Diah on May 23, 2017 at 23:42
This kind of similar meaning always comes in English test (I only have tried TOEFL test). So, if I meet such this exam, I better to guess it right?

Comment by Expector Smith on May 20, 2017 at 12:14

Hi Onee,

Thanks for commenting. Yes, some words seem to be so difficult to memorize - you may have to look them up again next time you see them. Sometimes you recognize the word but fail to know what it means. 

Sometimes I look a word up just for its pronunciation. That is to say, I know its meaning but aren't sure if I really know how to pronounce it. 

You don't need to look up every word you don't recognize or aren't familiar with, as mentioned in the blog or comments. 

Comment by Onee-chan on May 19, 2017 at 4:14

Dear Doc,

It's true that I often forgot though I'd looked up the dictionary a few times. -_- It's not easy to remember new words. Btw, I was about to play the word 'tumultuous' in Guess My Word game. But I think I'll find another now. :D

It's something unforgettable when we enter the hall and get a tumultuous applause from all the audience. ^^

I can't guess the meaning sometimes, immediately I look up the dictionary. That's my habit. 'Coz My fingers cross so fast and good at it. :D

Thanks for the tip.

Comment by Expector Smith on May 14, 2017 at 8:01


Thanks for commenting. What I really want to convey is that sometimes you don't need to look up the new or unfamiliar word in a dictionary, just guessing the meaning of the word, especially when you're taking an English test or you don't want to stop the reading because of such a word.

You'd better look a word up, however, if there is no way you'll be able to guess it or the word is so important for you to understand the sentence or the word has appeared more than one time. 

Chances are you'll look the word up again next time you encounter it,  because some words can be so hard to memorize.

1edzcawym6zny Comment by 1edzcawym6zny on May 13, 2017 at 19:14

wooow, I am really very happy I know the meaning of first two sentences.

jeopardize means risk/risky or we can say hazardous or Danger.

the meaning of remuneration I know in my mother tongue. It's like something we pay for official work, for example, we travel for official work and later we get the money back office pays it for us.

The third one is just my guess, the meaning of tumultuous maybe extreme or excessive.

Thanks for sharing this blog ^_^

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