You couldn’t replace the word expired with the word die even though the two are synonyms. It wouldn’t make sense. A driver’s license can’t die. So, you need to keep in mind that not every synonym of the word you want to replace will be a good choice.
Every writer can enhance their writing skills by using a variety of words in their written work. We’ve seen how this can be accomplished with synonyms, now let’s take a look at what we can do with antonyms.
What are Antonyms?
Antonyms are words that have opposite meanings. For example, the antonym of long is short. Often words will have more than one antonym but as with synonyms it depends on the context. For instance, the word warm could have the antonym cool or chilly. In order to choose the correct antonym, you have to look at all the meanings and how the word is used. Cool can mean stylish as well as chilly so the word cool may not be the best choice.
Types of Antonyms
Antonyms fall within the three categories: graded antonyms, relational antonyms, and complementary antonyms.
Graded antonyms are word pairs that have variations between the two opposites. For example, big and little are antonyms but there are a lot of changes before you get to the opposite meaning. Like this:
Big, huge, bulky, full-size, slight, petite, little
Other examples are:
Happy – sad
Healthy – sick
Smart – stupid
Relational antonyms are pairs that have a relationship. Each word wouldn’t exist without the other. There can’t be a parent without a child or it’s either all or nothing. Other examples include:
Open – close
Husband – wife
Front – back
Hello – goodbye
Complimentary antonyms are word pairs that have no degree of meaning. There are only two opposite possibilities.
True – false
Daughter – son
On – off
When using antonyms always keep in mind the context of the word and then choose the best word that means the opposite. As with synonyms, showing variations in meaning through the use of the correct antonyms will add spark and interest to your writing. If you haven’t already, get to know your Thesaurus. It could be your new best friend!
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