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VOCABULARY LEVEL 1 – Package 5 - Synonyms

Learning Outcomes

By the end of VOCABULARY LEVEL 1 you should be able to
✔ study vocabulary independently
✔ use different strategies to expand and record vocabulary

Introduction to Independent Learning

Independent learning gives you more choice about what, when and how fast to study. It also prepares you to learn after complete full time education.

In order to study independently you need to be able to set your own aims, choose how you want to study and reflect on the usefulness of studying that you do and on your overall progress.

Since you have chosen to study VOCABULARY LEVEL 1, we can assume that you want to learn more about how to expand and remember words more effectively. The online activities are designed to help you to develop and build the bank of words and expressions that you have at your disposal.

To begin with, there is a vocabulary quiz which will give you some idea of where you strengths and weaknesses lie.

Package 5 Rating Form

Package 5 - Synonyms


Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, you should be able to
✔ identify and use a range of synonyms and antonyms.


A synonym is a word which has the same, or almost the same, meaning as another word, while an antonym is one which is opposite in meaning to another word. For example, peaceful, tranquil and placid are synonyms, and brave and cowardly are antonyms.

It is very useful to have a good command of synonyms. If you use the same words throughout your essays or presentations, your writing or speech will seem monotonous and unsophisticated. For example, if you were writing a report about the introduction of a government policy, your reader would find it rather boring if you kept using the words introduce, government and policy. To make your writing more interesting, you should (where appropriate) use words which have the same or similar meanings. Here are some examples of words that you might use in the report about government policy.

The government introduced the policy in 1995.
The administration implemented the scheme in the mid-nineties.
The authorities initiated the plan ten years ago.
The Education Department adopted the strategy a decade ago.
The Director of Education launched the initiative on 31 August 1995.

Activity 1

In the box there are clusters of synonyms for the underlined words in the sentences that follow. Drag and drop the synonym clusters in the box on the corresponding words in the sentences.

If you want to find synonyms for key words in your assignments, you should consult a thesaurus. This is a reference book which lists words with similar meanings. You can also check the thesaurus on your word processing programme. However, you need to remember that no word ever has exactly the same meaning as another. There is always a difference in emphasis, suggestion or use. Words that a dictionary lists as synonyms cannot always be interchanged in every context. If a thesaurus states that two words, say, start and commence, are synonymous, it does not necessarily mean that they are always interchangeable. In this case, the former tends to be used in everyday communication whereas the latter tends to be restricted to formal contexts. A useful online thesaurus is:

Activity 2

Since synonyms are not always interchangeable, it is important to select with care the word that exactly expresses your idea/thought or fits the context.

The following activity helps you to develop the ability to discriminate among synonyms.

Click on the more suitable word in the following sentences. In pairs, discuss the differences between the two words.

Activity 3

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