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Author: Nikki Hansen

To introduce, define and discuss synonyms and how to remember what a synonym is.

This packet includes a text portion which defines and discusses synonyms, including examples. This packet also includes two songs about synonyms, and a slideshow which allows you to brainstorm synonyms on your own.

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What are Synonyms?

Synonyms are different words with similar or identical meanings. (Example: Car and Automobile)

Synonyms can occur in any part of speech:

Noun: Student/Pupil

Verb: Quickly/Hastily

Adjective: Bright/Luminous 

Preposition: On/Upon

Synonyms are different from homonyms.  Homonyms are words that are spelled the same, but have different meanings.

Why do synonyms exist?  Because language is always evolving - and especially because the English language is made up of many different languages - synonyms were unavoidable.  They help to make our language much more creative and interesting.  Can you imagine if there were only one word for everything?

How can I remember the definition of what a synonym is?  There is a song titled "sing a song of synonyms" which is very catchy and will help you to remember the definition of synonyms, if you so choose to use it.  Otherwise, you can remember that synonyms are words that are similar.   

If you'd like to practice your synonym usage, I suggest this helpful tool. 

How do I know if I'm using the correct synonym? Context is important, as well as knowing what part of speech you are dealing with.


Example: He broke my heart.


Broke is a verb, so the synonym we want to use needs to be a verb. Words such as fractured, smashed, tore or destroyed all work in place of "broke" in this sentence.  We know that "broke" can also mean poor or domesticated (like a broke horse), so we want to avoid words synonymous with poverty or domestication.  It wouldn't make much sense to say "He bankrupted my heart" or "He saddle-tamed my heart." You want to use a word that fits both grammatically and contextually.

Identify Some Synonyms.

This powerpoint gives you the opportunity to think for a few synonyms yourself and, of course, provides answers to compare with!