Synonyms in English: Definition, Rules and Exercise

Synonym Definition & Meaning

What are synonyms in English? Examples, rules and exercises

Synonyms are an important element of any language that helps us make our speech more diverse and expressive. Synonyms are words that have similar meanings but are spelled differently (for example: Big and Large). In the English language, they play a particularly important role in helping us express our thoughts, feelings and ideas more precisely. The ability to use synonyms properly can improve your speaking level and make it more effective. In this article, we will look at the importance of using synonyms in English and give some tips on how to use them correctly. After learning the theory, we suggest putting it into practice at the end of the article.

What grammar rules do you need to know about synonyms in English?

Grammatical rules related to the use of synonyms in the English language mainly refer to the correctness of using other components of the language in the context of a sentence. Here are some important grammar points to know:

  1. Part of Speech: Synonyms are words or phrases, so they are used in speech just like any other words of the corresponding part of speech. For example, if you replace the word “happy” with “joyful,” they remain adjectives.
    • She is very happy.
    • She is very joyful.
  2. Grammatical Consistency: When choosing a synonym for a word in a sentence, attention should be paid to grammatical consistency. In other words, synonyms should adhere to the grammatical rules of the sentence in which they are used.
    • She quickly finished her homework.
    • She rapidly finished her homework. (Correct, as “quickly” and “rapidly” are synonyms that convey “quickly.”)
  3. Verb Forms: In the case of synonyms for verbs, it’s important that they match the correct verb tense, person, and number in the sentence.
    • She sings beautifully.
    • She performs beautifully. (Correct, as “sings” and “performs” are synonyms for “to sing” in this context.)
  4. Context: Grammatical rules also take into account the context of synonym usage. The same synonym may be suitable for one context but inappropriate in another.
    • The cat swiftly climbed the tree.
    • The cat swiftly swims in the river. (Inappropriate, as “swims” does not fit the context where land movement is described.)

The general rules of English grammar remain the same when you use synonyms. The main difference is choosing the word or phrase that best conveys your point or intent in a particular context.

Examples of synonyms in English

Let’s consider examples of the most popular synonyms in the English language:

  1. HappyJoyful
    • She was so happy to see her old friend.
    • She felt joyful when she received the good news.
  2. Big – Large
    • That’s a big house.
    • It’s a large building.
  3. Fast – Quick
    • The car is very fast.
    • He is quick to respond to emails.
  4. Angry – Mad
    • She got angry when he was late.
    • He was mad at his brother for borrowing his phone.
  5. Beautiful – Gorgeous
    • The sunset was so beautiful.
    • She looked absolutely gorgeous in her wedding dress.
  6. Smart – Intelligent
    • He’s a smart student.
    • She’s known for being highly intelligent.
  7. TiredExhausted
    • After a long day at work, he felt tired.
    • She was completely exhausted after the marathon.
  8. Nice – Pleasant
    • He is a nice person.
    • The weather was pleasant for a picnic.
  9. HurryRush
    • We need to hurry to catch the train.
    • He rushed to finish his assignment on time.
  10. Start  – Begin
    • Let’s start the meeting.
    • We can begin the project tomorrow.

These examples illustrate how synonyms can be used in different contexts and replace each other, enriching speech and helping to express thoughts and feelings more precisely.

Exercise – Finding synonyms

Find the synonym of the following words written in capitals.

He LOOKS at himself in the glass

Ships and AIRCRAFTS are often equipped with radio telephones

Hemingway is a FAMOUS writer

The children know that the sun RISES in the east

The teacher ASKED why he had missed so many classes

I don’t want to know what they are TALKING about

The game they LIKED best was writing short stories of their own

My friend was sorry as his father was DEAD

My friends can use my notes when they are ILL

Our classes usually ARE OVER at 7 in the evening

She said that she WAS GOING to live in London

He thought that he was very SILLY

They had a big house and AT THE BACK OF it there was a small lake

TWO HUNDRED YEARS ago the square yard was very clean

I am not going to write any more NOW

We shall be REACHING the station in 15 minutes

She saw at once that something terrible had HAPPENED

She became angry and BEGAN to shout at them

They BEGAN to work together twenty years ago

We took the book last week and now we must GIVE it back

Awareness and ability to use synonyms is a key aspect of successful English language proficiency. They make our speech more diverse, helping us express our thoughts and emotions more precisely. However, it is also important to remember that not every synonym can be used in every context. Grammatical and semantic features of the word are important for determining the correct synonym. Therefore, while developing your English language skills, you should learn to use synonyms according to grammar rules and context to make your speech more effective and expressive.

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