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11+ Word Connections Illustration | Connect
Word Connections is all about finding what connects seemingly random words.

VR - Word Connections (1)

As you might expect, Word Connections are exactly what they sound like – connections between words. What kind of connection? Well, that varies considerably. Connections are possible in all sorts of devious ways, but here are some common ones:

Synonyms (words which mean the same thing). For example, ‘tall’ is a synonym of ‘lofty’.

Antonyms (words which mean the opposite of the given words). For example, ‘wise’ is an antonym of ‘foolish’.

Places (you could find people or objects in, or working in, the given places). For example, ‘pilot’ works in ‘aeroplane’.

Made of/consists of (the second word is what the first word is made of or vice-versa). For example, ‘wine’ is made of ‘grapes’ or ‘greenhouse’ is made of ‘glass’.

Has...’ For example, a ‘plant‘ has ‘leaves’ and a ‘story’ has ‘words’.

Is part of...’ For example, ‘engine’ is part of a ‘car’. Be aware that these often go into more detail and require you to look for something that has a specific role in the larger object. For example, ‘engine’ is the part of the car which powers it.

Tense (past, present, future). For example, ‘see’ is the present tense of ‘saw’.

In or on. For example, a ‘bulb’ goes in a ‘lamp’ or ‘hat’ goes on a ‘head’.

Is an example of a... For example, ‘green’ is an example of a ‘colour’ and ‘three’ is an example of a ‘number’.

Degree. For example, ‘hurricane’ is a very powerful version of ‘breeze’.

Young and old. For example, a ‘calf’ is a young ‘cow’.

Is carried out... ’ For example, ‘action’ is carried out by a ‘body’ or ‘sleep’ is carried out in a ‘bed’.

Do to...’ For example, ‘watch’ is something you do to a ‘television’.

How Are Word Connections Questions Posed In The Exam?

In the Eleven Plus Verbal Reasoning exam, children will be asked to choose two words from two lists. These words will be connected in one of the ways mentioned above, to complete a logical sentence.

That might sound a little confusing! The best way to show you is with some examples.

Example Question One


Find the words which complete the sentence in the most sensible way. Choose one word from the first group and one word from the second group.

Tall is to
(high short wide)
as dark is to
(coalcolour light

In this question we should look for the connection between the first word (‘tall’) and the words that follow it.

‘Tall’ means roughly the same as ‘high’
is the opposite of short
has no clear connection with ‘wide’.

Now let’s look at the second set of words, starting with the key word ‘dark’:

‘Dark’ is a word that could describe the colour of ‘coal’
is a word used when describing ‘colour’
is the opposite of ‘light’.

Now we have the three connections for each word, all we have to do is spot the similar ones. ‘Tall’ is the opposite of ‘short’ while ‘dark’ is the opposite of ‘light’ so they are the same. We are looking for opposites.

‘Tall’ is to ‘short’ as ‘dark’ is to ‘light’. The answers are ‘short’ and ‘light’.

Example Question Two


Find the words which complete the sentence in the most sensible way. Choose one word from the first group and one word from the second group.

Dull is to
(bored boring green)
as Happy is to
(red hope cheerful

Remember, there could be several reasons why the words have a connection, but whatever the reason is, it must be possible to state it for both pairs of words without twisting things around to suit an answer.

The easiest thing to look for is a pair of synonyms, but be aware that they would have to be genuine synonyms, the same part of speech as each other, and not just words with a strong connection.

So, let’s look at the words in the same way as we did in the previous example:

’Dull’ describes the type of thing that you may be doing while you are ‘bored’
is a word that can mean the same as ‘boring’
has no obvious connection with ‘green’.
’Happy’ has no obvious connection with ‘red’
is a word that may describe someone who has ‘hope’
is a word that means the same as ‘cheerful’.

The answer must be ‘boring’ and ‘cheerful’ as they are both synonyms (same meaning) of the given words. ‘Dull’ is to ‘boring’ as ‘happy’ is to ‘cheerful’.

Example Question Three


Find the words which complete the sentence in the most sensible way. Choose one word from the first group and one word from the second group.

Belt is to
(hit fasten leather)
as shirt is to
(cotton collar pink

Let’s apply the technique:

’Belt’ can mean the same as ‘hit’
is an object that one can ‘fasten’ to make work
can be made of ‘leather’.
’Shirt’ can be made of ‘cotton’
usually has a ‘collar’ as a constituent part
may be coloured ‘pink’.

The matching explanations, of course, revolve around the fact that each can be made of something in the lists. ‘Belt’ is to ‘leather’ as ‘shirt’ is to ‘cotton’.

Technique Tip

As with many questions involving words on verbal reasoning papers, encourage your child to make a statement that is entirely clear and logical. Vague ideas are not likely to be right and should only be used as possible answers once every avenue has been explored.

The following statement would not be acceptable as an answer to any verbal reasoning question:

‘Aeroplane’ is a form of ‘transport’ and ‘wheel’ is something you find on a ‘bus’ which is a form of transport.

There isn’t anything clear-cut about this statement – it’s vague and isn’t what we’d need.

Now here is a more water-tight answer to a question:

‘Ship’ travels on the ‘sea’ while ‘car’ travels on a ‘road’.

This is clear and has no doubt about it. It would form a sensible answer.

Sample Tests

Now that we have introduced you to Word Connections style questions in the 11+ Verbal Reasoning exam, you might like to practise with some quizzes. There are four on the Education Quizzes website, which you can find by following these links:

Word Connections 1

Word Connections 2

Word Connections 3

Word Connections 4

There is a little more to learn about Word Connections though, which we look at in the following article. You may want to take a look at that before you visit our quizzes. See you there!

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