How to test an illustrative sentence for specificity


Principle

It is not enough that an illustrative sentence just contain the target word; the sentence should provide a context that is specific enough to clarify the usage of the sense being illustrated.

Guidelines

Here are some guidelines to follow when you test an illustrative sentence for specificity:

Steps

Follow these steps to test an illustrative sentence for specificity:

  1. Select a sentence.
  2. Remove the lexeme to be illustrated.
  3. Try to complete the sentence using different words. If you can replace the lexeme with a word that is directly or indirectly related to it and the sentence still makes sense, then the sentence is not specific enough.
  4. Make the illustrative sentence more specific if necessary by adding other characteristic elements to help reinforce and constrain the sense of the word.

References

Bartholomew and Schoenhals 1983:65-69:


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