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Antonyms 1 - Can you Spot the Antonym?
'Big' and 'small' are antonyms of each other.

Antonyms 1 - Can you Spot the Antonym?

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.

1.
Choose the antonyms for ARTIFICIAL, HARD and HUMBLE from the four options given.
genuine, soft, proud
fabricated, difficult, polite
unreal, strong, respectful
synthetic, tough, modest
All the other options are synonyms. The word 'hard' and its antonym 'soft' come under the category of Graded Antonyms. Such words have grades of either being soft or hard - for example 'slightly hard' or 'less soft'
2.
Choose the antonyms for RIGHT, MAXIMUM and OPEN from the four options given.
correct, largest, honest
true, biggest, bare
suitable, greatest, frank
wrong, minimum, shut
All the other options are synonyms. Remember in the English language a word sometimes offers many meanings which are far removed from one another. For instance, OPEN could be 'to open a door' or 'he was open about his relationship'
3.
Choose the antonyms for PERFECT, PLEASANT and KIND from the four options given.
faultless, amiable, humane
flawless, cheerful, gentle
imperfect, unpleasant, unkind
ideal, pleasing, sympathetic
All the other options are synonyms. Note that the antonyms are derived by prefixing the original word - im-perfect, un-kind and un-pleasant. There are many such words in the English language
4.
Choose the antonyms for LAWFUL, POSSIBLE and POLITE from the four options given.
legal, probable, affable
unlawful, impossible, impolite
legit, feasible, civil
proper, viable, courteous
All the other options are synonyms. As with question 3, these are words that have become antonyms by adding prefixes
5.
Choose the antonyms for NIGHT, INTENTIONAL and ATTACK from the four options given.
evening, deliberate, raid
dusk, purposeful, invade
day, accidental, defend
dark, wilful, assault
All the other options are synonyms. The word 'night' and its antonym 'day' come under the category of Complementary Antonyms. Such words are either one or the other. Other examples would be - before/after; dead/alive and true/false. Can you think of any more of these types of words?
6.
Choose the antonyms for ORIGIN, ABOVE and ANNOY from the four options given.
root, aloft, trouble
source, top, bother
ancestor, upper, anger
ending, below, please
All the other options are synonyms
7.
Choose the antonyms for START, SIMPLE and BUY from the four options given.
stop, difficult, sell
begin, easy, acquire
commence, plain, purchase
open, ordinary, bring
All the other options are synonyms.The word 'buy' and its antonym 'sell' come under the category of Relational Antonyms. For such words both must exist simultaneously. For instance, for somebody to buy, someone else must sell. Other examples would be husband/wife; servant/master and borrow/lend
8.
Choose the antonyms for COMING, LAUGH and CARELESS from the four options given.
appearing, chuckle, wasteful
approaching, grin, reckless
entering, smile, negligent
going, cry, careful
All the other options are synonyms
9.
Choose the antonyms for EVERYTHING, BUILD and STRONG from the four options given.
nothing, destroy, weak
all, construct, muscular
aggregate, erect, solid
total, form, tough
All the other options are synonyms
10.
Choose the antonyms for LOCK, MATCH and LIKE from the four options given.
secure, compare, love
latch, concur, akin
unlock, mismatch, unlike
bolt, agree, relish
All the other options are synonyms. 'Unlock', 'mismatch' and 'unlike' are words that have become antonyms by adding prefixes
Author:  V T Narendra

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