A Guide to Meaning: Figurative, Connotative, & Technical | Reading

November 14, 2014 thetasctest

writing at desk It’s difficult to understand meaning – especially on paper or a computer screen. If you’re preparing for your TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ Reading subtest, be sure you have the three primary types of meaning down; they’re a high emphasis component of the subtest. These three types are:

  1. Figurative Meaning
  2. Technical Meaning
  3. Connotative Meaning

Figurative Meaning

According to Curriculum Associates, figurative meaning is when an author uses words in a way that’s different from their literal, or usual, meaning. The Data Recognition Corporation | CTB adds that there are many different types of figurative language. Some examples include similes and metaphors:

  • A simile is when a writer uses the words like or as to compare two unlike things.

“In the eastern sky there was a yellow patch like a rug laid for the feet of the coming sun.” Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage

  • A metaphor is when a writer compares two unlike things but does not use like or as.

“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.” Albert Einstein

Technical Meaning

Technical meaning is used to talk about a specific subject area of discipline. These words, or groups of words, relate to a specific process or activity.   For example, if you were working in a retail store and a new shipment came in, you might be asked to go through the shipment and create an itemized list of all the products in the shipment. You might also be asked to compare final counts. To do this, you must understand the technical meaning of itemized list and final counts; itemize means to list separately, and final counts refer to the number of products the supplier counted as shipped in comparison to the number of products received in the shipment.

Connotative Meaning

Writers might also use words that have positive or negative connotations – and this is what we mean by connotative meaning. Connotative words are often used expressively. They help demonstrate how a writer feels about the topic. As Curriculum Associates notes, you can often figure out the author’s connotation by thinking about the word’s context, “or the text that comes before and after it.” Remember to think about the ideas or feelings typically associated with the word. For example, stereotypical often has a negative connotation while delightful has a positive connotation. Looking for a chance to practice? Check out Data Recognition Corporation | CTB’s practice sites for figurative meaningtechnical meaning, and connotative meaning.

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