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Antonyms 2 - Graded Antonyms
This bath is not empty. Can you think of an antonym for 'empty' which would describe it?

Antonyms 2 - Graded Antonyms

In the previous quiz we learnt that the antonym of a word is a word that has the opposite meaning. We also learnt that there are three broad types of antonyms – graded, complementary and relational.

The word 'fat' and its antonym 'skinny' come under the category of graded antonyms. Such words have grades such as 'fatter' or 'less skinny'. If someone is not skinny he may still be not fat.

The characteristic of graded antonyms is that they lie on a continuous spectrum. It means that the two opposite words need not have the same weight as one another. These words are called gradable antonyms because they do not possess an either-or association but rather a more-less association.

When we say a mouse is BIGGER than another mouse it means we are using the word BIGGER in the context of mice only. When we say a SMALL cat we realise that a SMALL cat is definitely bigger than a BIG mouse. Therefore, graded antonyms do not offer an absolute scale. They refer only to the object they describe.

Another interesting characteristic of graded antonyms is the use of one of the words as a reference point. For instance, TALL is the graded antonym of SHORT. When we try to describe a building we tend to ask ‘how tall is the building’ and not ‘how short is the building.’ Here, TALL is the reference point for the pair of graded antonyms and we use the reference point for determining the degree.

Yet another characteristic of graded antonyms is the possibility of adding an adverb to the adjective to modify it and make it more meaningful. For instance, 'VERY bright' or 'MILDLY hot' describe the intensity of their adjectives.

Many graded antonyms grace the English language. They include dull/interesting; light/heavy; old/young and slow/fast. Play the quiz that follows and learn more about graded antonyms.

1.
Find the word that is not an antonym of ABUNDANT.
Plenty
Scarce
Sparse
Scanty
'Plenty' is used to denote many and hence is a synonym of 'abundant'. 'Scarce' is the better graded antonym, whilst 'scanty' and 'sparse' are also used as antonyms for 'abundant'
2.
Find the word that is not an antonym of EMPTY.
Full
Brimming
Overflowing
Vacant
'Vacant' means having no contents, hence 'empty'. While 'full' is the better graded antonym, 'brimming' and 'overflowing' are equally good antonyms
3.
Find the word that is not an antonym of SIMPLE.
Complicated
Difficult
Easy
Challenging
'Easy' is a good synonym for 'simple'. While 'challenging' is a better graded antonym for 'simple', 'complicated' and 'difficult' could also be used as antonyms of 'simple' in many situations
4.
Find the word that is not an antonym of RICH.
Poor
Wealthy
Penniless
Needy
'Wealthy' is an adjective used to describe rich people. While 'poor' is the better graded antonym for 'rich', the others, 'penniless' and 'needy' are also often used to describe the poor
5.
Find the word that is not an antonym of BEST.
Worst
Highest
Least
Lowest
'Highest' is equivalent to 'best' in certain situations, for example "his performance level was the highest (best)". While 'worst' is the better graded antonym, 'least' and 'lowest' can be used in certain situations in place of 'worst'.
6.
Find the word that is not an antonym of FOOLISH.
Stupid
Clever
Smart
Wise
'Stupid' is a good synonym for 'foolish'. While 'wise' is the better graded antonym, 'smart' and 'clever' could also be used as antonyms for 'foolish'
7.
Find the word that is not an antonym of CALM.
Worried
Tranquil
Disturbed
Tense
'Tranquil' is a synonym for 'calm'. While 'worried' and 'tense' are the better graded antonyms, 'disturbed' could also be used
8.
Find the word that is not an antonym of OPTIMISTIC.
Pessimistic
Hopeful
Gloomy
Hopeless
'Hopeful' means to expect a better outcome, which is equivalent to being optimistic. While 'pessimistic' is the better graded antonym, 'gloomy' and 'hopeless' can also be used
9.
Find the word that is not an antonym of SMART.
Dumb
Astute
Foolish
Stupid
'Astute' is a good synonym for 'smart'. While 'dumb' is the better graded antonym, 'foolish' and 'stupid' are equally good antonyms
10.
Find the word that is not an antonym of SAFE.
Unsafe
Deadly
Secure
Dangerous
'Secure' is a synonym of 'safe'. While 'unsafe' is the better graded antonym, 'deadly' and 'dangerous' are equally good antonyms
Author:  V T Narendra

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