What are antonyms and synonyms? Examples of synonyms and antonyms
Just think for a moment that there are no words in English that would be close in meaning. For instance, there would be only a neutral verb "to go" and that’s it. Just try to tell the reader how the person was walking: he wandered, dragged or paced. Precisely in order to avoid repeating the same word there are antonyms and synonyms in our language that help us to express emotions or to characterize the phenomenon. So get ready to discuss them here.
Similar in meaning
Translated from Greek synonyms (homonymous) these are words that
- do not match by sound;
- are identical in meaning;
- have the same grammatical features;
- Often differ in stylistic coloring.
For instance: husband - spouse, friend - comrade, fatherland - homeland. Synonyms are joined into parts that can change over time. This is due to the fact that the language is constantly evolving; the words lose their old meaning and acquire new ones. Let us recall the poetry of the XIX century. Pushkin used a word "dream" that meant thought, and the definition of "scrupulous" was equal to "haberdashery."
To use the linguistic wealth in practice, you can refer to special dictionaries, which explain what synonyms and antonyms are used in specific cases, their semantic rows are united together. From them you can see why the "rose" and "flower" are not close in meaning, as well as the "house" and "apartment" cannot be in the same chain.
Synonyms, get ready to stand in a row!
A few words with a close meaning form a meaningful part. Compare: road - path - direction - highway - freeway - gravel - concrete. Or probably the synonymic row consists of only one-root words: a boy is a youngster, a lad.
How to build a semantic chain in a correct way knowing what synonyms and antonyms are? First of all, there should be a dominant (dominant) in the first place, that is, a reference word with a neutral stylistic coloring. All the others stand behind it, clarifying and expanding its values, giving it an emotional characteristic. For example: beloved - dear, desired, own, dearly beloved.
Phraseological units (set expressions, winged phrases) and words in the prepositional form (with a preposition) can be included in the synonymic rows: greedy - stingy, that’s not enough, have an itching palm, to get blood out of a stone, etc.
The vocabulary of the English language is so great and stylistically flexible, that all the antonyms, synonyms and homonyms in it do not have fixed and strict use, they constantly change, making the speech alive and imaginative.
Typology based on similarity
Related words have their own classification by the degree of semantic analogy.
-Doublets are full synonyms. As a rule, they are associated with scientific terms, with their parallel notation: orthoepia - pronunciation, predicative - predicate. Some of the same root-like words refer to them: neglect - disregard.
- Ideological (semantic) synonyms differ in shades of meanings: wet - humid, damp. It is worth noting that the sign in these examples manifests itself in different ways, that is, the degree of the fluid content in the characteristic is not the same.
- Style synonyms and antonyms are distinguished according to the expression and emotional evaluation. Examples: forehead (neutral) - front (high) – central front (lowered).
- Words that are close in meaning but have differences in style and in semantics are semantic-stylistic synonyms. They predominate in English.
- Within the framework of a single text or sentences, one can find expressions that are only close in meaning here. These are contextual synonyms (they are called situational or authoritative). It is clear that these words denote different distances, but in this context they have one meaning, i.e. the dimension of space.
What are synonyms and antonyms from a functional point of view?
As mentioned above, unless there are few meanings of words, our speech would be dull and uninteresting. It is synonyms and antonyms that allow one to accurately express the thought and attitude to any phenomena. How can this be done with the help of words that are close in meaning. Let’s talk in detail.
- Clarify or simply add the missing meaning: He was walking quietly, to be more precise, he was puffing.
- Replace the words. In this way we avoid tautology (repeating the same word): A neighbor came into the room, the woman looked depressed.
- Euphemizing. There is a need for an inaccurate description of real things. We often hear that the director is "delayed" (but we understand that he is just late). Sometimes it's easier to say that a person is "feeble-minded" than to say strictly that he is "stupid".
- Opposition. This method emphasizes the difference: He did not run, but rushed like an arrow.
We spoke enough about what synonyms are, and the antonyms will now be easier to understand. First of all, they manifest themselves in paired use, only in this case their opposite essence is revealed.
Antonymous relations are based on the lexical meaning of concepts that are in one circle of phenomena. If the word is multi-meaningful, then the opposite meanings can also be the same.
Antonyms cannot have:
- proper names and specific nouns: notebook, flat, institute;
- most pronouns and numerals;
- gender designations: girl and boy, daughter and son, grandfather and grandmother;
- words that have a expressed stylistic coloring: lanits, fatherland, pearl.
Structure, types and use of antonyms
The opposite meaning can be expressed by words having one root: entered - exited, happy-unhappy, as well as those words that do not have same root: evil - good, dark - light.
Among the antonyms there are two types:
- linguistic, that can be found in the dictionary structure: morning - evening, ill - healthy;
- contextual, when the opposite is found only in the framework of a sentence: it is better to seem foolish than an enemy.
English synonyms and antonyms are used in all speech styles, among the most popular can be colloquial and artistic. Very often they are built on proverbs and sayings, they can also be found in the names of works.
Such figures of stylistics as the antithesis and oxymoron are built on the opposition and comparison of antonymic meanings. The first expressive means we find in the title of Turgenev's novel "Fathers and Sons" or Chekhov's story "Thick and thin", as well as Tolstoy's “War and Peace”.
The second figure is based on combining the incompatible: a loud silence, a deafening silence. Oxymoron can be found in the headlines of art works: "The Living Corpse" by Tolstoy, "Dead Souls" by Gogol.
In addition to synonyms and antonyms, there are paronyms and homonyms in our language. They are no less interesting and expressive. But we will touch them during our next discussion.