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7th Grade Language Arts / Lesson 4.9.1: Synonyms (DAY 1)


Two word that have almost the same meaning are synonyms.


  • She felt ignored by them.
  • She felt neglected by them.

Word have more than one meaning, so two words may be synonyms in one context, but not in another.

In the sentences below the words in blue are synonyms.

  • The player checked his opponent.
  • The player blocked his opponent.

In the sentences below, the word in blue is the same, but they are not synonyms!

  • He wore his checked shirt.
  •  The teacher checked the papers.


Precise Synonyms

In some cases, two words will have the same meaning, but there may be just a slight difference.

Example:  I have a big problem.

Several words can be used a synonyms for "big" in the sentence above, but each has a slight difference.

  • tough
  • complex
  • major
  • irritating
  • overwhelming

The way to choose among possible synonyms is to compare them on some aspect of their meaning.  When trying to match synonyms, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do they show the same amount of size?
  • Do they show the same emotion or intensity?
  • Do they show the same timing?
  • Is one more specific than the other?


Comparing Synonyms by Size

These words suggest a similar size

  • It is gigantic.
  • It is enormous.

But this shows a smaller size

It is large.

Comparing by the Same Emotion or Intensity

These word suggest similar emotion or intensity

  • I adore her.
  • I love her.

But this shows less intensity

I like her.

Comparing by the Same Timing

These words suggest similar timing

  • She started dinner.
  • She began cooking dinner.

This shows a later time

She cooked dinner.

Compare by General Meanings

These words are general in meaning

  • The awoke at dawn.
  • They awoke at sunrise.

This is specific in meaning

They awoke at 6 o'clock.