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Identify the Meaning of Words

In this worksheet, students will identify the meaning of words and phrases from a text.

' Identify the Meaning of Words ' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Year:  Year 3 English worksheets

Curriculum topic:   Reading: Comprehension

Curriculum subtopic:   Discuss Words and Phrases

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

Using interesting vocabulary (words) adds detail to stories and helps the reader imagine what is going on.


Sometimes, when we are reading, we come across unfamiliar words.

To help us understand the meaning of these words, we can use the rest of the sentence as a clue.


girl reading a book



Jack was so hungry that he couldn’t understand why his mum had given him such an inadequate dinner.


plate with crumbs


We may not be familiar with the word inadequate, but clues in the rest of the sentence tell us that inadequate means small.


Jack was hungry so he was confused that he had been given such a small dinner. He wouldn’t be confused if he had been given a big dinner!


Small is a synonym of inadequate. This means they mean the same thing.


Synonyms are words with the same or very similar meanings.


Read the text below. 


Bathing on the conservatory floor in the warm, midday sun, Rex beamed as he knew he had the perfect life. Stretching his golden paws out in front of him, he let out a gigantic yawn, showing off his pointed canine teeth, then closed his eyes and dreamed of sizzling sausages.


“Rex! Here, boy. Time for dinner,” a jolly voice came from the kitchen. Instantly, Rex leaped up from his napping place to dash into the kitchen. The chiming of his name tag repeatedly hitting the food bowl echoed around the house. It was no surprise that he had finished his meal in less than a minute. His owners, Sophie and Parm, spoiled him from the moment they adopted him from the rescue centre. They took him for long walks, threw his ball and gave him the best cuddles.


One day, everything changed. When Rex heard the familiar jangling of keys, he excitedly rushed to the front door as he always did to greet his owners. Sophie came in and gave him a hug. Strange, he thought. Sophie seemed to have a new smell and she looked quite tired. A few minutes later, Parm came in the front door carefully carrying something very small with two arms and two legs.


Parm passed the thing he was carrying to Sophie and she sat it on her lap. This thing then had a bottle of milk, rubbed its eyes and fell asleep in her arms.  Parm and Sophie spent the rest of the day cuddling their new thing and smiling at each other. Rex had never felt so lonely. They nearly forgot about his dinner and he had to eat it ten minutes later than normal. He went to bed early and let out a few whimpering sounds. All night long, Rex could hear his owners walking up and down in their bedroom trying to calm the crying new arrival. “What an awful sound!” he thought. “Why would they bring such a noisy creature into our cosy home?”


The next day, Sophie appeared pushing a strange object with four wheels. They put the small creature into the object and put Rex on his lead. Once he got used to walking alongside the floating bed on wheels, Rex loved his walk. In fact, it was the best walk ever. They walked for longer than they usually did and so many people gave him a stroke as they walked past. “I could get used to this,” he thought.




In this activity, we will be answering questions about the meaning of words in this text.


We need to look at the context of the words and use clues to help us to understand their meaning.


Let's get started!


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