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Teach Synonyms: The National Curriculum
The English language… full of different ways of saying things, from words to how we structure our sentences. English is a rich language with an ability for variation. Synonyms are introduced in year six along with antonyms. Synonyms and antonyms are used to build a wider vocabulary which will also result in a wider understanding of words and meanings.
“He quickly put his coat on” – sounds plain and uninteresting, whereas “He briskly swung his coat on”, “He rapidly wrapped his coat around himself”, “He flung his coat on”, sound so much better but overall, mean the same thing.
The National Curriculum defines synonyms as the following:
Students should be encouraged to think of more interesting and descriptive words to replace overused, less imaginative adjectives such as: happy, sad, hot, cold, small, and big. In many primary schools, these words are referred to as dead words. The institute of art integration describes a dead word as “a word in English language that is overused”.
Teach Synonyms: Lesson Ideas
Learn how to use a thesaurus: Give students a thesaurus and help them expand their vocabulary by searching different ways of communicating certain words or feelings.
For example: From > I am angry. To > I am really frustrated, I can see red.
Dead Words: Write a list of dead words and ask your students to use the thesaurus to find alternatives.
Bingo is a fun engaging way to help students learn any vocabulary you are teaching.
To play Synonym bingo, simply print out the blank bingo sheet we have provided – you can download below. Then, show your students a list of words with their synonyms to choose from (We have 150 examples below), each student must pick 16 synonyms from the list and add them to the blank bingo sheet.
To play, read out randomly words from your list. If a student has a synonym of that word on their board they can mark it off.
First one to shout bingo wins!
The Encouragement Game
The encouragement game focuses on practising the use of the thesaurus. Use the words provided in the PowerPoint or edit them to make your own. Have students come up with synonyms to the words. How many can they come up with?
Grammar with Emile
An issue that some teachers encounter is that students remember what synonyms are until it has been a few weeks and they no longer remember them.
Grammar with Emile is a great way to harness the power of competition and have them quickly recall grammar terms like antonyms and synonyms.
A list of 150 words with over 600 synonyms for the classroom:
absent – away, out, missing, unavailable.
accept – receive, get, gain, obtain.
advantage – privilege, lead, power.
against – disagree, dislike, across, opposing.
agree – accept, consent, admit, allow.
all – everything, each and every, every, every single.
always – every time, without fail, no matter what,
answer – acknowledge, reply, response, get back to.
apart – aside, alone, aloof, away.
appear – arrive, present, come out, pop up.
arrive – show up, take place, turn up, enter.
ascend – go up, level up, climb, move up.
awake – get up, rouse, wake up, arise.
backwards – back, reverse, rearward, rear.
bad – awful, wrong, poor, unacceptable.
beautiful – pretty, good looking, stunning, fascinating.
before – sooner, ahead, since, previously.
begin – start, commence, create, do.
best – outshine, hardest, overcome, better.
big – large, colossal, enormous, gigantic.
boy – male, man, lad, fellow.
brighten – light up, lighten, illuminate, clear up.
can – be able, manage, take care of, can do.
capable – able, efficient, gifted, experienced.
careful – attentive, discreet, concerned, thoughtful.
cheap – poor, economical, low-cost, reasonable.
cold – freezing, chilly, brisk, frosty.
comfort – relief, luxury, pleasure, contentment.
common – frequent, simple, typical, universal.
compulsory – mandatory, obligatory, required, necessary.
conceal – bur, cloak, lurk, mask.
cool – cold, fresh, crisp, refreshing.
correct – acceptable, careful, right, suitable.
create – build, conceive, form, start.
cruel – brutal, savage, barbaric, brutish.
demand – challenge, appeal, force, request.
disappear – gone, missing, depart, dissolve.
discourage – alarm, confuse, scare, bother.
down – downward, cascading, dropping, descending.
easy – clear, accessible, simple, straightforward.
encourage – empower, support, boost, inspire.
external – outside, foreign, outward, extraneous.
fail – fall, decline, break down, miss.
false – not true, incorrect, distorted, fake.
famous – well known, celebrity, popular, important.
fold – pleat, crease, bend, crinkle.
foolish – stupid, silly, childish, unwise.
fortunate – lucky, privilege, encouraging, successful.
friend – buddy, amigo, comrade, partner.
full – big, crowded, packed, stocked.
gentle – compassionate, cool, considerate, tender.
girl – female, woman, lady, adolescent.
good – great, solid, proper, amazing.
guilty – liable, culpable, wrong, sorry.
handy – useful, convenient, skillful, helpful.
happy – gleaming, joyful, glad, cheerful.
hate – dislike, resentment, enmity, hostility.
honest – truthful, authentic, reliable, trustworthy.
hot – warm, heated, blazing, sweltering.
humble – gentle, modest, quiet, respectful.
ill – unwell, poorly, infirm, diseased.
include – add, combine, incorporate, encompass.
increase – boost, advance, deepen, multiply.
intelligent – smart, astute, brilliant, bright.
internal – inside, inwards, domestic, private.
join – marry, accompany, tie, fuse.
justice – just, right, lawful, fair.
knowledge – education, ability, observation, familiarity.
known – experience, learn, perceive, realize.
large – big, enormous, huge, hefty.
laugh – chuckle, howl, giggle, shriek.
lawful – authorised, proper, rightful, permissible.
like – admire, love, go for, admire.
little – tiny, small, slight, limited.
look – stare, inspect, examine, glare.
lovely – attractive, magical, beautiful, adorable.
many – loads, lots, plenty, tons.
massive – enormous, colossal, vast, huge.
messy – unclean, cluttered, chaotic, sloppy.
misunderstand – confuse, miscalculate, misread, misinterpret.
more – also, other, extra, further.
move – transport, transfer, carry, take.
neat – clean, organised, sleek, immaculate.
never – not at all, not ever, nevermore, no.
new – unused, fresh, contemporary, pristine.
nice – fair, friendly, kind, lovely.
nice – great, lovely, admirable, friendly.
noisy – loud, crowded, rowdy, boisterous.
none – no one, nobody, nothing, nil.
obedient – attentive, compliant, law-abiding, loyal.
optimist – positive, hopeful, confident, cheery.
out – outdoors, outside, away, absent.
over – past, by-gone, gone, closed.
past – history, old days, long ago, times past.
patient – respectful, calm, forgiving, tolerant.
permanent – forever, durable, long-lasting, stable.
play – compete, game, engage, frolic.
possible – achievable, available, viable, feasible.
powerful – strong, robust, mighty, hefty.
question – inquiry, questioning, investigation, query.
quickly – rapid, immediately, instantly, swiftly.
quiet – still, soundless, calming, soothing.
rapid – fast, swift, brisk, speedy.
rare – limited, uncommon, unique, unusual.
real – authentic, honest, undeniable, true.
really – actually, certainly, well, easily.
rich – well-off, wealthy, powerful, upper-class.
right (noun) – correct, independence, truth, freedom.
run – rush, dash, sprint, scuttle.
serious – genuine, sincere, thoughtful, severe.
shout – yell, call, shout, shriek.
shrink – decrease, diminish, shorten, weaken.
sick – ill, unwell, down, green.
simple – clean, plain, uncomplicated, not difficult.
sink – descend, submerge, go down, decline.
sleep – nap, doze, kip, siesta.
slim – thin, small, narrow
strong – mighty, powerful, muscular, heavy.
stuff – things, item, property, goods.
take – accept, arrest, seize, grab.
talk – chat, gossip, speak, converse.
tame – train, conquer, temper, suppress.
tell – notify, inform, warn, suggest.
terrible – awful, appalling, atrocious, horrid.
thick – broad, chunky, heavy, fat.
thought – pondered, reflect, considered, contemplated.
together – joined, closely, collectively, combined.
tough – hard, resilient, healthy, solid.
ugly – hideous, menacing, nasty, plain.
unable – helpless, weak, powerless, incapable.
under – beneath, bottom, down, inferior to.
unfold – spread, stretch out, unfurl, unravel.
Unhappy – miserable, down, tearful, down in the dumps.
unite – together, join, cooperate, unify.
unknown – anonymous, foreign, strange, unfamiliar.
useful – handy, appropriate, fruitful, convenient.
value – worthy, benefit, power, use.
vast – ample, big, broad, endless.
very – overly, desperately, hugely, immensely.
victory – win, achievement, gain, triumph.
visible – clear, detectable, obvious, evident.
walk – plod, wander, stroll, hike.
weak – frail, slimsy, fragile, delicate.
weird – eerie, bizarre, surreal, spooky.
wet – damp, muggy, watery, drenched.
wide – ample, large, expanded, full.
win – victory, accomplishment, success, achievement.
wrong – incorrect, unjust, mistake, error.
yes – ok, I agree, affirmative, certainly.
young – infants, little ones, small, immature.