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Antonyms 3 - Complementary Antonyms
It can't be both day and night at the same time in the same place!

Antonyms 3 - Complementary Antonyms

In the first two quizzes on antonyms we learnt that antonyms are of three types - graded, complementary and relational. We learnt that graded antonyms are known as such because they do not possess an either-or association but rather a more-less association. We now take a look at complementary antonyms.

The dictionary meaning of complementary is ‘acting as or forming a complement; completing.’ Thus, complementary antonyms have the characteristics of completeness with no grades in between. For instance, the word 'night' and its antonym 'day' come under the category of complementary antonyms. Such words have either one possibility or the other. It cannot be both day and night at the same time! Other such examples are before/after; dead/alive, pass/fail, on/off and true/false. In each of these examples you can see that if one is there the other is not. You either pass an exam or fail an exam. A statement is either true or false. A person can be dead, and if he is not dead then he is alive.

One other characteristic of complementary antonyms is that they are mutually exclusive. It means that one can be there without the other. For instance, the pair daughter/son is a complementary antonym. In a family, it is possible that the parents have only a son and no daughter, implying that the opposite of son need not be present. Similarly, another family can have only a daughter and no son.

Here are some more attributes of complementary antonyms:

Words may be opposite but are related to the same thing – love/hate.
Two things that are alike but definitely not the same – divorce/separation.

Complementary antonyms are a boon to enhance your writing abilities and a lot of practice will help you to improve your language. The quiz that follows helps you to add to your English vocabulary.

1.
Find the antonym of the word CROOKED.
Curved
Twisted
Straight
Errant
While 'straight' is a complementary antonym, 'unbent' and 'linear' could also be other antonyms of 'crooked'. 'Curved', 'twisted' and 'errant' are all synonyms of 'crooked'
2.
Find the antonym of the word SINK.
Plunge
Submerge
Float
Drown
While 'float' is a complementary antonym, 'hover' and 'sail' could also be used. 'Plunge', 'submerge' and 'drown' are all synonyms of 'sink'
3.
Find the antonym of the word ABSENT.
Missing
Unavailable
Away
Present
If you are present then you can't be absent, therefore 'present' is a complementary antonym of 'absent'. 'Missing', 'unavailable' and 'away' are synonyms of 'absent'
4.
Find the antonym of the word ANSWER.
Question
Reply
React
Respond
While 'question' is a complementary antonym, 'inquiry' and 'query' could also be used. 'Reply', 'react' and 'respond' are all synonyms of 'answer'
5.
Find the antonym of the word WET.
Dry
Moist
Damp
Soggy
While 'dry' is a complementary antonym, 'arid' and 'dehydrated' could also be other antonyms of 'wet' in certain situations. The other options, 'moist', 'damp' and 'soggy' are all synonyms of 'wet'
6.
Find the antonym of the word LEAVE.
Depart
Arrive
Exit
Vacate
While 'arrive' is a complementary antonym, 'enter' could also be used. 'Depart', 'exit' and 'vacate' are all synonyms of 'leave'
7.
Find the antonym of the word NOISY.
Deafening
Strident
Raucous
Silent
While 'silent' is a complementary antonym, 'quiet' could also be another antonym of 'noisy'. 'Deafening', 'strident' and 'raucous' are all synonyms of 'noisy'
8.
Find the antonym of the word ARTIFICIAL.
Synthetic
Natural
Unnatural
Fabricated
While 'natural' is a complementary antonym, 'untouched' could also be used. The other options, 'synthetic', 'unnatural' and 'fabricated' are all synonyms of 'artificial'
9.
Find the antonym of the word INTERIOR.
Inland
Internal
Inside
Exterior
While 'exterior' is a complementary antonym, 'outside' and 'outer' could also be other antonyms of 'interior'. 'Inland', 'Internal' and 'inside' are synonyms of 'interior'
10.
Find the antonym of the word PUSH.
Pull
Thrust
Drive
Shove
While 'pull' is a complementary antonym, 'drag' and 'haul' are other antonyms of 'push'. 'Thrust' 'drive' and 'shove' are all synonyms of 'push'
Author:  V T Narendra

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