Synonyms, Antonyms and Plesionyms Explained

Knowing as many synonyms and antonyms of words will help ace the 11 plus exam. The reason for this is because the English and Verbal Reasoning parts of the exam require students to have a wide vocabulary.

So, what are these types of words and how do they help us increase our vocabulary?

What Are Synonyms?

Synonyms are different words that mean the same thing. Most words in English have at least one other synonym. Some examples of synonyms include:

  • End – Finish
  • Start – Begin
  • Funny – comical – humorous
  • Find - discover

As you can see, these words are different but really mean the same thing.

What Are Antonyms?

Antonyms are the opposite of synonyms. Instead of words that mean the same thing, these words mean the direct opposite of each other. Some examples of antonyms are:

  • Good – bad
  • Pass – fail
  • Girl – boy

It is easy to notice that these words have the opposite meanings.

So That Makes Plesionyms…

Plesionyms are a class of words that not many people know about. You can think of them as synonyms’ long-lost cousin. They are like synonyms but are groups of words that are not 100% the same. It is often the case that we consider plesionyms as synonyms. Some examples include:

  • Run – jog
  • Type – write
  • Fog – mist

Sometimes culture can determine if a word is a plesionym or a synonym. Some cultures have more technical understanding of some topics and can, therefore, distinguish differences between words that others may not.

The good news is that these words are almost certain not to come up on the 11 plus exam. You can mostly consider them as synonyms.

Ways to Improve Vocabulary

Synonyms and antonyms are a shortcut to increasing vocabulary at any age. Instead of memorising definitions of these new words, we can simply remember the other words that have the same meaning.

The best way to do this is by reading books or downloading the free vocabulary list from our site right here. Check out our free resource and even get tips on how to use it and help your child expand their vocabulary.

Our online 11 plus course is also fantastic for tackling synonyms, antonyms and vocabulary – and applying them to real 11 plus questions!

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