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If you don’t know what the word "exhilarating" is, take it out of the sentence – "Riding the roller coaster was __________ and my heart raced like it did when I was kid." – and then start substituting words until you find one that fits with everything else in the sentence.In this case, "fun" would work, but "thrilling" would work even better because it matches more closely with "my heart raced."Step 4: Rely on your own knowledge and experience.Your own knowledge and experience also provide clues that you can use to figure out the meaning of an unfamiliar word.Example:Johnny's mom commended him for cleaning up his room without being told. If you do not know what "commended" means, put yourself in Johnny's or his mom's shoes. If your son cleaned up his room without your asking, what would you do? You probably wouldn't complain or criticize; instead, you would praise and applaud him. You were able to determine the meaning of the word without any examples, synonyms, or antonyms.This step is more useful when you are reading about something that you know more about. You may find that it is not helpful when you first enter an anthropology, psychology, or sociology class and begin reading your text.Identifying Word Parts LESSONIn this lesson, you will learn to how to find the meaning of words you don't know in areadingby usingword parts. When you come across an unfamiliar word in a passage, one of the ways to determine its meaning is to break the word down to smaller parts. These are known as word parts and there are three types:root words,prefixes, andsuﬃxes. Just ascontext clueshelp you define a word by applying what you know about the key words around it, word parts help you define a word by applying what you know about the key parts of the word itself.Root words are basic words that cannot be reduced to a smaller word and have a meaning all on their own. They can often stand alone as independent words although there are some core roots that help form many of the words people use.A prefix is a word part that is attached to the beginning of a root word to enhance or change its meaning. It cannot stand on its own as an independent word.A suﬃx is a word part added to the end of a root word that can sometimes enhance or change its meaning, but mostly it can change a word's part of speech or changes a singular word into a plural one. Like a prefix, it cannot stand on its own as an independent word.For example, the word "bicycling" is made up of the root word "cycle," which means circle or wheel, the prefix "bi," meaning two, and the suﬃx "ing," which makes it aparticiple.There are two ways to approach word parts. First, you can memorize the word parts.Decipheringunknown words becomes easier with each word prefix, root, and suﬃx that you learn. The "Common Word Parts List" below does not list every possible word part, but it will give you a good place to start. Consider creating flash cards for each word part and have your friends and family quiz you.