Denotation and Connotation Practice Exercises (page 3)

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Updated on Sep 29, 2011

Practice 3: Why the Giraffe's Neck Is Long 

(1) Once giraffes had short necks, like horses. The giraffes ate grass, bushes, and leaves near the bottoms of trees. But the greedy animals ate and ate until all the plants were gone, except for the leaves at the very tops of the tallest trees. To get them, the giraffes stood on one another's heads! It was quite uncomfortable, to say the least, but the leaves were tender and juicy.
(2) One day, Gayle Giraffe was perched on top, nibbling away at the leaves. Suddenly, the giraffes under her moved away, leaving her head stuck between two branches! There she dangled, far above the ground. The clever giraffe didn't panic; she took a deep breath and stretched her body agonizingly until her hoofs felt the soft earth. Then, she pulled her neck free.
(3) "Look!" said another giraffe, who had witnessed the struggle. "Gayle's neck has stretched! Now she can reach the leaves without climbing!"
(4) So one by one, the others stuck their heads into the branches and stretched their necks. A few giraffes were chicken and didn't want to do it, but they finally did. And now, all giraffes can eat the juiciest leaves in the treetops any time!
11. Which word could the author have used instead of greedy that means the same thing but does NOT have a negative connotation?
a. miserly
b. gluttonous
c. selfish
d. hungry
12. A denotation of chicken is "a barnyard fowl" and the connotation is
a. "a brave person"
b. "a squawking person"
c. "a coward"
d. "a clown"
13. Which of these words from the story has a positive connotation?
a. agonizingly
b. clever
c. dangled
d. panic


1. b
2. c
3. a
4. A hog is a large pig. The connotation is someone who takes more than a fair share or is selfish. The author probably used the word to stress that he or she believes some cell phone users don't respect the rights of others.
5. b
6. c
7. a
8. c
9. d
10. b
11. d
12. c
13. b
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