The English language is host to thousands of words which describe all kinds of things, places and persons. Through correctly using these words people can communicate with one another clearly. Obviously not all words can be unique and there would be some words which are similar and some words which are opposite in meaning. Words with opposite meanings are called ANTONYMS.
GOOD is the opposite of BAD, UGLY is the opposite of BEAUTIFUL and STRONG is the opposite of WEAK. All of these example are antonyms.
Antonyms help to bring contrast into writing or speaking. For instance a book could be a GOOD book or a BAD book. Here, GOOD and BAD represent the opposite. Similarly a girl could look BEAUTIFUL or she can look UGLY. Here again, BEAUTIFUL and UGLY represent the opposite.
Antonyms enter into the English language in several ways. They can be formed as standalone words such as the examples given earlier. Antonyms can also be formed by simply adding prefixes to an original word. Words such as LUCKY and MOVED can be converted into antonyms by adding the prefix ‘UN’ to them to become UNLUCKY and UNMOVED. Similarly we can add the prefix ‘MIS’ to words such as HANDLE and GUIDE to form MISHANDLE and MISGUIDE which are antonyms of HANDLE and GUIDE.
Just as we saw in the case of adjectives and adverbs we can have different types of antonyms. There are several types of antonyms called graded antonyms, relational antonyms and complementary antonyms.
Graded antonyms are those that possess grades in their meanings. For instance, though 'soft' and 'hard' are antonyms of each other we could possibly use 'slightly hard' or 'less soft' and by virtue of this antonyms such as 'hard' and 'soft' come under graded antonyms.
Another type of antonym is the relational antonym. Here for one word to be present its antonym must exist simultaneously. For instance, for somebody to 'buy', someone else must 'sell'. Other examples would be 'husband/wife'; 'servant/master' and 'borrow/lend'.
Complementary antonyms are words which are either one or the other. For instance, 'before/after'; 'dead/alive' and 'true/false' are all complementary antonyms.
The quiz that follows exposes you to some of the antonyms that we normally across in our daily lives.
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