Practice MCQ with Solutions

Video Lesson on Synonyms


Synonyms are words which have the same or nearly the same meaning as another word. For instance, ‘affluent’ and ‘opulent’ are synonyms because they mean the same, that is, ‘rich’. Generally speaking, knowledge of synonyms of words and general vocabulary is of utmost importance. These become doubly important in examinations where these often appear as questions.

Points to Remember

  • Before the examination, you must make sure that you attempt to improve your vocabulary through reading. You may read novels, the newspaper or any other English literature media especially the Classics. Most nationally circulated newspapers contain articles written in a decent level of language. This helps by letting you build context surrounding the words. When you see the word being used in a sentence, you form a background on the word, making it easier to guess its synonym.
  • Every time you come across a new word, you must look it up in the dictionary and thesaurus to make sure that word is well-understood and thus, well-memorised. You can even make sentences of your own or use mnemonics to remember the word.
  • Another way to guess the meaning of the word is through breaking down the word into its roots. For instance, ‘Ornithology’ may be split into ‘ornis’ which means ‘birds’ and ‘logos’ which means ‘study’ thus establishing that it is the study of birds.
  • You can maintain a diary or notebook to keep a record of all the new words. This notebook will then serve as a tool for quick revision as the examination day nears.
  • You may prefer learning words of a similar category together for better understanding. For example, the names of specialists maybe learnt together. For instance, cardiologist (heart specialist), neurologist (brain specialist) and ophthalmologist (eye specialist)
  • Practising a lot of exercises on synonyms and words with similar meanings can be advantageous. The more you rehearse, the better you become. After all, practice makes perfect!
  • During the examination, you must carefully examine each option before choosing the correct one. If you are stuck, using the word in a sentence and then doing the same with each of the options may help bring some clarity.
  • Synonyms when used in the same sentence at the same place, ideally do not change the entire meaning of the sentence. For example, “It was Sahil’s hesitation that was the cause of all trouble” can be replaced by “It was Sahil’s reluctance that was the cause of all trouble” as ‘hesitation’ and ‘reluctance’ are similar in meaning.
  • In case you are unable to choose between two given options, it is preferable to choose the word which matches the degree of the word in question. For instance, the word ‘obese’ would be most similar in meaning to ‘overweight’ rather than just ‘plump’.
  • Keep an eye out for easily confusable words and homophones. These are words that sound alike but may be spelled differently. For instance, ‘bare’ and ‘bear’. These cannot be used interchangeably. Try remembering the context in which you read the word first. This will help clear any confusion.


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