11-Plus Exam Illustrations - Verbal Reasoning Quiz - VR - Same Meaning (Questions)

In a later article, Spotting Synonyms, we will be looking for words which are synonyms. Same Meaning questions are almost the same but, this time, candidates must find a synonym for a word in a sentence, rather than for a word in isolation. This often helps, as children may be able to use the context of the sentence as a guide to the right answer.

How Are Same Meaning Questions Used In The Exam?

Synonyms are a common theme in Verbal Reasoning papers, and they may be presented in various ways. Same Meaning questions show candidates a sentence which has one word in capitals. They are then given a list of words and must choose which one could be used to replace the capitalised word, without changing the meaning of the sentence.

The best way to show you what I mean is with some examples:

Example Question One


Pick the answer which expresses most closely the idea in CAPITALS in the original sentence.

There were also weeds growing in great PROFUSION around the old shed at the far end of the garden.

Possible answers:
a) CLUMPS
b) BARRELS
c) BUNDLES
d) QUANTITIES


This kind of question tests a child’s vocabulary. ‘Profusion’ is quite a difficult word for a ten-year-old, but well-read candidates should know its meaning. 'A profusion' of anything simply means a great quantity and children who know this will find the correct answer straight away.

Even children who have never come across the word ‘profusion’ before should be able to work out its meaning from the context of the sentence. Encourage your child to visualise the scene described. They will hopefully imagine a garden which is overgrown with weeds. They then have to go through each option, looking for the word which fits best.

Let’s go through all four options:

'Clumps' could work (imagine weeds growing in clusters) but not in this particular context. We’re looking for a word that means ‘profusion’. This word will have been chosen by the test compiler deliberately in order to confuse those who do not know the word ‘profusion’.

‘Barrels’ could also fit into the sentence, but who would grow weeds in barrels? We can discount this answer.

‘Bundles’ doesn’t work. Bundles are groups of things tied together, and who would tie weeds together? We can also discount this answer.

‘Quantities’ is the correct answer as it is a synonym of ‘profusion’.

Example Question Two


Pick the answer which expresses most closely the idea in CAPITALS in the original sentence.

Her injuries were pretty TRIVIAL compared with what some of the other passengers experienced.

Possible answers:
a) SERIOUS
b) AMUSING
c) HORRIFIC
d) SLIGHT


As before, a child with a good vocabulary should know the meaning of the word ‘trivial’. If they do not, then they may struggle with this one.

Let’s go through all four options:

‘Serious’ could fit into the sentence, but that would change its meaning. This is a trap to fool anybody who does not know what ‘trivial’ means.

‘Amusing’ could also fit into the sentence, but no injury could be described as ‘amusing’ could it?

‘Horrific’ works in the same way as ‘serious’. It’s there to fool unwary candidates.

‘Slight’ is the only answer which would not change the meaning of the sentence, so it must be the correct answer.

Technique Tip:

In multiple-choice questions, there is another way to discard wrong answers. We are looking for the one word which could replace the word in capitals. That means that, if there are two or more words with the same (or similar) meaning, then neither of them can be the right answer.

Let’s use the previous example question to show you what I mean:

Example Question Three


Pick the answer which expresses most closely the idea in CAPITALS in the original sentence.

Her injuries were pretty TRIVIAL compared with what some of the other passengers experienced.

Possible answers:
a) SERIOUS
b) AMUSING
c) HORRIFIC
d) SLIGHT


Let’s assume that a candidate does not know the word ‘trivial’ so does not instantly know the answer. Looking at the four choices, ‘serious’ and ‘horrific’ have very similar meanings. That means we can rule both of them out.

That leaves us with ‘amusing’ and ‘slight’. ‘Amusing’ can be discarded for the reasons I mentioned above. That means the correct answer must be ‘slight’.

Sample Tests

Synonym questions may be presented in various ways. For example, candidates might be asked to spot words with similar meanings from a list, or to replace a word in a sentence with a synonym (as in this example). Both of these can prove the downfall of those with poor vocabularies. The best way to improve that is by getting them to read as much as possible.

There are four Same Meaning quizzes on the Education Quizzes site for you to practise with. As long as your child has a strong vocabulary and knows lots of synonyms, then they should be able to work out the answers.

You’ll find the quizzes in our Eleven Plus Verbal Reasoning section or, alternatively, you can follow these links:

Same Meaning 1

Same Meaning 2

Same Meaning 3

Same Meaning 4

The quizzes are useful for familiarising your child with this type of question, however, unless they know the meanings of a large selection of words, they will struggle in the exam. I cannot emphasis enough the value of reading and the importance of dictionaries!