English has thousands of words that convey meaning and play a role in communication. With such a huge vocabulary it is not possible that every individual word will have a totally unique meaning. There are many words that have similar meanings to each other - and not only that, we also have words that have opposite meanings.
What does the word PAL remind you of? Does it make you think of a FRIEND, a BUDDY or an ALLY? These words are similar in meaning to PAL and such words are called synonyms. Synonyms help you to pick a suitable word to communicate your message clearly and precisely.
Related to synonyms are antonyms. Words that are opposite in meaning to each other are known as antonyms. In English some antonyms are formed by adding a prefix to a word and these prefixes have meanings that contribute to the opposite meaning of the new word formed.
There are several prefixes that can be added - MIS, UN, IL, DIS, IM, IN and IR. For example, MISBEHAVE is an antonym of the word BEHAVE and it is formed by adding MIS as a prefix to the word. The meaning of MIS is ‘wrong’ and you can see how the prefix contributes to the meaning of MISBEHAVE. Some other examples are UNHAPPY, ILLEGAL, DISAPPEAR, IMPOSSIBLE, INCREDIBLE and IRREGULAR.
Now, these words are unique opposites of the original word. But, you may want another word similar to that word and synonyms provide such alternatives. For example, synonyms of IRREGULAR are ERRATIC, SPORADIC and UNEVEN. It would be useful to learn synonyms for antonyms formed by adding prefixes and add to your vocabulary and use them whenever the need arises. In the quiz that follows you will learn about synonyms of antonyms formed by adding prefixes.