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Verbal Reasoning is problem-solving based around words and language. There are at least 21 Verbal Reasoning question types that are often used by Local Education Authorities and schools as part of a grammar school selection process.
The Learning Together range of books and downloadable practice tests cover all 21 question types. More details about content can be found on the pages related to each book or test.
Our How to do Verbal Reasoning book explains many of the required VR concepts.
Question types include those requiring your child to find words with the closest meaning or words with the nearest opposite meaning, antonyms and synonyms, to complete words using one or two letters and logic or logical deduction. Breaking codes or completing anologies are other possible question types.
You can print this list. (PDF format)
Type 1 - Add a letter to make four words.
rop (?) ver AND tre (?) at
In this question type you must add one letter that will create four new words, the same letter must be used in both sets of brackets and must complete the word in front of the brackets and the word after the bracket.
Type 2- 2 words that do not go with the other 3. (Related words.)
PEAR APPLE PLUM RUBY DIAMOND
In this question type you are given five words. Three of these words are connected in some way. Two words do not go with the other three. You must select these two words from the five that you are given.
Type 3 - Codes using letters.
In a certain code the word HOME is written as IPNF.
What is HOUSE in code?
There are a wide variety of possible codes that can be used in this question type. Some of these codes can be very complicated while others are much simpler and easier to work out. In this question type you may be asked to change code words into English or an English word into a code word.
Type 4 - Two words with a similar meaning. (Method sheet) (PDF format)
Select two words, one from each group, that are closest to each other in meaning.
( close, door, hear ) ( open, near, here )
There are other question types that are like this question. Another question type asks you to select the OPPOSITE word; while yet another question type asks you to find a LINK or CONNECTION between words. You must make sure that you are focusing on answering the correct question type. In this question type you are asked to select two words, one from each group, that are closest to each other in meaning.
Type 5 – Find a 4 Letter Word Hidden in a Sentence.
Find the four-letter word that is hidden in this sentence.
After the third time and fourth time he gave up
This question type requires you to know lots of four letter words. You will probably know most of these words and their meanings. In this question type you are asked to find a four-letter word that is hidden in a sentence. The hidden word will be spread over two consecutive words.
Type 6 – Find the 3 Letter Word Missing From a Larger Word.
A sentence starts with a CA_ _ _AL letter.
In this question type you are asked to find a three-letter word that is missing from a larger word. This question type requires you to know lots of three letter words that may be contained in larger words. The context of the sentence will help you find the larger word and then the smaller word that completes the larger word.
Type 7 - Sums Using Letters as Numbers. (Method sheet) (PDF format)
A = 7 B = 2 C = 13 D = 4 E = 0 so B + D + A = ( ? )
Give your answer as a letter.
In this question type you are asked to calculate a sum and then to give your answer as a letter or sometimes as a number. This question type requires you to have a good grasp of many mathematical principles and to think about letters representing numbers. You must ensure that you read the question carefully so that you give your answer as a letter or number as required.
Type 8 - Move a Letter to Make 2 New Words.
(bread & root) Move the letter (___) to give (________) and (________)
In this question type you must move one letter from the left-hand word and place it somewhere in the right-hand word. When you do this, you must have created two new words.
Type 9 - Find the Next Letter in This Series.
Find the next letter in this series.
Y A C E ( ? )
In this question type you are asked to insert the next letter or letters into the series. Writing out the alphabet very quickly can be very helpful.
Type 10 - Goat is to Kid as Horse is to Foal – Word connections.
finger is to ( point hand nail ) as toe is to ( big foot heel )
In this question type you are asked to choose two words, one from each set of brackets that will complete the sentence in the most sensible way.
Type 11 - Number Series.
9 11 13 15 ( ? )
Find the next number in this series.
In this question type you are asked to insert the next number or numbers into the series. Writing out a line of numbers such as 1 - 20 can be very helpful as it may help you see the series.
(Of course this may not be practical if the numbers are very large.)
Type 12 - Compound words.
In each question below a word from the first set of brackets joins one word from the second set of brackets to make a new word.
( late farm time ) ( over field yard )
In this question type you are asked to choose one small word from each of two sets of brackets that will join to make one larger word. This new word is known as a compound word.
Type 13 - Middle Word From Outside Words.
Find the missing word that fits into the second set of brackets.
cat ( sat ) soon car ( ? ) ball
In this question type you are asked to fill the space in the second set of brackets by creating the missing word in the same way that the word has been created in the first set of brackets.
Type 14 - Letter connections AB is to CD as EF is to GH.
Find the next two letters in this series.
DE is to GH as OP is to ( ? )
In these questions, you are trying to find a connection between two pairs of letters. There will be a pattern, like a series, to find in the first pair of letters. This pattern will be repeated in the second pair of letters.
Type 15 - Reading information or Logical Deduction. (Method sheet) (PDF format)
Julie is taller than John but smaller than Joan
List the children starting with the tallest.
In this question type you are asked to read information which is given to you in a variety of formats. You are then asked to deduce (work out) the answers from the information that you have been given. These questions can be presented in many ways. Drawing a table to put the information into maybe helpful.
Type 16 - Opposite Words.
Select two words, one from each group, that are most opposite to each other in meaning.
( over through in ) ( out on beside )
In this question type you are asked to select two words, one from each group, that are most opposite to each other in meaning. There are other question types that are like this question. Another question type asks you to select the MOST SIMILAR word; while yet another question type asks you to find a LINK or CONNECTION between words. You must make sure that you are focusing on answering the correct question type.
Type 17 - Maths Equations (Complete the sum.)
Complete this sum by writing the correct number in the brackets.
2 + 2 = 3 + (?)
In this question type you are asked to complete the mathematical sum by inserting the correct answer in the brackets. The answer will go on one side of the equal sign to complete the sum.
Type 18 - Middle Number From Outside Numbers. (Related numbers.)
Find the number that will complete the third group of numbers in the same way.
5 (12) 7 4 (7) 3 2 ( ? ) 6
In this question type you are asked to complete the question by inserting the correct answer in the brackets. The answer is related to the two numbers that are either side of the brackets.
Type 19 - Codes Using Numbers As Letters in Words.
Here are four words, below the four words are three of the words written in a secret code. The codes may be in a different order from the words.
PACE CAPE PART TAPE
1234 3214 3267
What is TAPE in code?
In this question type you must work out a code. The code uses numbers as letters. You might have to change a code word into English or English word into code.
Type 20 - Complete The Third Word.
( acorn, corn ) ( alive, live ) ( aloft, ? )
In this question type you are asked to fill the space in the third set of brackets by creating the missing word in the same way that the word has been created in the first and second set of brackets.
Type 21 - Words With 2 Meanings.
( STY, FOLD ) ( PENCIL, BIRO )
HOUSE BRUSH PEN HOME PIG
Which of these 5 words will fit into both brackets.
In this question type you are given five words. One of these words is connected in some way to the words in both sets of brackets. You must select one word from the five that you are given.