11-Plus Exam Illustrations - Verbal Reasoning Quiz - VR - Words with Multiple Meanings And Learning How To Put Words Into Groups (Questions)

Words with Multiple Meanings

Below are four groups of words. All of those in the same group are connected in some way. Once you have worked out what the connection is between the words in each group, look at the test words. Decide which group the each of the test words goes in to.

Group A Group B Group C Group D
Asthma Spotty Fig Trio
Influenza Freckled Apple Quartet
Tuberculosis Greasy Grape Single

Test words:

CLEAR - _____________
PEAR - _____________
QUINTET - _____________

The format of these questions needs to be learned and after that there should be no problem. The easiest way to solve them and to get your head around it is to label the groups in pencil first. Group A could be called 'illnesses', regardless of whether your child knows what each of the words means or can spell them! The second is tough - it actually refers to the state of someone's skin although a child may not realise this straight away. Group C, obviously, is a list of fruit. Group D is all about the number of things - words which refer to one, two, three and so on.

Once the format is sorted, all you need is a good vocabulary and a keen eye for spelling. 'Clear' goes with Group B. If your child doesn't see this, get them to think about whether it can be a verb, noun or anything else. It can, of course, be different parts of speech. Using the different meanings, run through the groups' descriptions that you've already given them. Does it fit in with any? Which can you rule out? It's often the best way to decide what's not the answer and work from there.

'Pear' is a fruit; the temptation is to link it to the words in Group D as 'Pair' would fit in there. That's why spelling is important! 'Quintet' may be a word your child doesn't know - this is where reading and vocabulary are critical. Of course, it goes with Group D and if in doubt, the fact that 'quartet' ends with a similar letter string should point a bright child with limited vocabulary to the right group.

Putting Words Into Groups

Which word can have a similar meaning to the words in brackets on the left AND a similar meaning to the words in brackets on the right?


There are two ways that this question can be presented. Firstly, and more straightforwardly, the multiple choice method. Seeing a list of possible answers should spark your child into the correct answer but as usual, there are techniques to add to your chance of success.

Remember that, as usual, there will be a deliberate effort to mislead the candidates. 'Notice' and 'see' are both verbs and nouns. This can affect their meaning, of course. 'Mole' has two different meanings - the animal is not related in any way to 'blemish' so we can assume it's meant as the skin mark. With a shortlist of four or five words, simply run them through and see if you can connect them with at least one word on each side. If you don't know the meaning of a word, don't worry - the answer should be a word that's relatively well-known, even if the words in brackets are not. As long as you've got a match to a word in each pair of brackets you should be fairly safe.

If there is no multiple choice answer available then start with the most clear-cut word in brackets. Let's go for 'blemish' as it's got a meaning that is more distinct than the others. If your child knows the word (it's the level that they certainly should) then they can picture it in their mind. What is it? What does it look like? Write down a few synonyms for it if possible. Even without this list, a clear picture of a 'blemish' on a person's skin, or on an apple's peel, should lead them to think of 'mole' in the sense of a skin blemish.

If they have a few words in their heads, relate them to 'notice' and 'see' and find whether they work. If not, try and find synonyms for the latter two. Remember, words can often be nouns or verbs depending on context. Although the word you're looking for is a verb to match those in the first set of brackets, it's a noun to match the second. The answer, of course, is 'SPOT'.

Try to get your child to write a similar question or two - use words like 'earth', 'flag' or 'tie'. The more they practise setting questions, the more they are ready to answer questions!