Substitution

This step looks at other meanings for ‘independent’ and how to use substitution to check the meaning of words we don’t know.

In the previous step we looked at one possible meaning of the word ‘independent’ in the context of the video in Step 1.5, Success at university, where it was used in this sentence:

Independent learning is essential in order to succeed at university in the UK and to progress in your future career.’

Then we used substitution and context to decide that Ian Dunn did not mean ‘ruled by its own government, rather than controlled by another country’ in this context.

There are other definitions for ‘independent’ in the dictionary. We’ve given you six of them with example sentences (Macmillan 2018).

Definition Example sentence
1. not depending on other people for money His wages enabled him to become economically independent of his family.
2. fair because of not being influenced by anyone else Seek independent legal advice before entering into an agreement.
3. an independent school is not paid for or controlled by the government She attended an independent school.
4. not belonging to any political party He stood as an independent candidate.
5. not employed or controlled by a company Many TV companies commission all their programmes from independent producers.
6. not depending on other people for help, or preferring to do things by yourself Even as a child he was fiercely (=very) independent.

You can use substitution to help decide which is the correct definition in this context by replacing the word in your sentence with information from the dictionary and thinking about whether the new sentence matches your context.

As you have more practice, you will be able to create substitutes yourself but for now, look at the examples we have created for you below where the word ‘independent’ has been swapped with key words from the different definitions from a dictionary.

Remember our original sentence:

Independent learning is essential in order to succeed at university in the UK and to progress in your future career.’

Definition Substituted sentences
1. not depending on other people for money Not depending on other people for money learning is essential in order to succeed at university in the UK and to progress in your future career.’
2. fair because of not being influenced by anyone else Fair learning is essential in order to succeed at university in the UK and to progress in your future career.’
3. an independent school is not paid for or controlled by the government Independent school learning is essential in order to succeed at university in the UK and to progress in your future career.’
4. not belonging to any political party Apolitical learning is essential in order to succeed at university in the UK and to progress in your future career.’
5. not employed or controlled by a company ‘Learning not controlled by a company is essential in order to succeed at university in the UK and to progress in your future career.’
6. not depending on other people for help, or preferring to do things by yourself Self-sufficient learning is essential in order to succeed at university in the UK and to progress in your future career.’

You can see from the table how we have used the words from the definition to substitute the word independent in the sentence.

Think about which substitution makes the most sense in the context of what Ian Dunn was trying to tell you.

In the next step you will be asked to make your choice.


Reference

Macmillan Dictionary (2018) independent (adjective) definition and synonyms [online] available from https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/independent_1 [1 May 2018]

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This article is from the free online course:

English for Academic Study

Coventry University