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Getting to grips with synonyms

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

What are synonyms?

Have you ever asked anyone, “What’s another word for…?” If you have, then the chances are, you were looking for a synonym!

A synonym is simply a word that has a similar meaning to another word. The opposite of a synonym, is an antonym.

Synonyms are a fantastic way to expand your English vocabulary.

From a young age, English children are taught to make their writing more interesting by using alternative words in their speech and writing.

This is because synonyms make writing and conversation much more engaging and meaningful. They can help you to express yourself in much more depth with just a single word change.

Synonyms are not just restricted to adjectives, you can use alternative words with the same meaning in nouns, verbs, and adverts too.

Let’s look at some example synonyms...

Synonym examples - adjectives

Instead of saying “I feel happy” you could say:

“I feel excited”

“I feel content”

“I feel jolly”

All of these words ‘excited’, ‘content’ and ‘jolly’ relate to being happy, but they represent slightly different ‘flavours’ of happiness. You might say you are ‘excited’ because it’s your birthday, but it would be unusual to say you feel ‘jolly’ or ‘content’ because it’s your birthday! So synonyms can help you to express precise ideas by using alternative words and phrases that share a common concept.

Once you expand your vocabulary by understanding synonyms, you will have a much better understanding of what other people are trying to express to you too.

Synonym examples - nouns

Instead of saying “I have an english teacher”, you could say:

“I have an english tutor”

“I have an english mentor”

“I have an english instructor”

These nouns all have slightly different meanings or inferences in english. For example, a teacher usually works in a school or college. A tutor usually provides private classes outside of formal education. A mentor usually implies a voluntary or unpaid teaching role.So, by using the write synonym we can imply the information in our writing or speech without going into the detail.

Synonym examples - verbs

Instead of saying “I ran home”, you could say:

“I sprinted home”

“I jogged home”

“I dashed home”

These different verbs ‘sprinted’, ‘jogged’, and ‘dashed’ convey different levels of urgency, so help to paint the picture of your story.

Synonym examples - adverbs

Instead of saying “I left the house quietly”, you could say:

“I left the house silently”

“I left the house stealthily”

“I left the house without a sound”

Notice how the last example “without a sound” is a short phrase rather than a single word. This is common, and quite acceptable.

Learn synonym through these fun videos

I’ve put together a series of short, fun, videos to help you build up your synonym vocabulary. By practising for just a few minutes a day you will quickly expand your knowledge and understanding of English.

Each video provides you with examples of synonyms, as well as how they are used in the context of a sentence.

If you have any questions about the videos, please leave a comments.

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