Use the word "hint" when giving someone help in finding information or an answer. A hint is also a clue or something that is partly hidden but detectable. (You can find it, see it, smell it, taste it, or hear it if you try hard enough.)

In these sentences and questions, "hint" is a noun:

  • I don’t know the answer. Can you give me a hint?
  • Several hints on the test helped the students find the right answer.
  • Tom gave the children some hints so that they could find the hidden object more easily.
  • Is Sarah giving Friedrich a hint that she doesn’t want to see him anymore?
  • The clouds passing overhead are a hint that it might rain.
  • The fish has a hint of lemon. (It’s a little noticeable.)
  • There was a slight hint of curry in the air. (You could just barely smell the curry.)

In these sentences and questions, "hint" is a verb:

  • Ali’s father hinted that he would buy his son a new Galaxy tablet.
  • Poor sales figures over the holidays hint that the store will probably not stay in business.
  • What is she hinting at? (What does she want?)
  • Are they hinting that they want to move to Texas?
  • The government hinted that it would start to move interest rates upwards.

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January 13, 2013