Rules for Solving Antonyms

Antonyms Rules

What is an Antonym?

The term antonym means a phrase or word which means just the opposite to the given the word or phrase in the same language. According to linguistic studies, most of the English words are derived from the Latin and the Greek language.

Each English word contains a root or a suffix or prefix, so all we have to do is to find that root, analyze whether it is of Greek or a Latin origin and then derive the meaning out of the word. And finally, find out the word which means exactly the opposite of that word

Rules for antonyms

Rules for Antonyms

Rule #1 – Answer Choices

Take note of positively and negatively charged answer choices. It is possible to associate a negative or positive charge with almost any given word. 

Try to discern whether each word in the following list has a –

  1. positive (+)
  2. negative (-), or 
  3. neutral (=) charge.

Choose the best synonym/antonym based on its charge.

Rule #2 – Types of Antonyms

Antonyms have been categorized into two parts, for a better understanding of the students.

Types of Antonyms:

  • Gradable Antonyms: they offer a middle ground to all the words and act on a graded spectrum i.e. within a range.
    • let’s take a word fat. Now it’s antonyms can be thin, skinny, slender, slight, slim, (Here you can see there’s a range of words from very thin to not too thin.)
    • old – new, young, youthful, current, fresh, modern, green. (here old was either age or time, hence all antonyms fall into a broader range)
  • Complementary Antonyms: these are the ones that stand in complete contrast to each other.
    • push and pull
    • In and out
    • Up and down
    • right and left

  • Relational Antonyms: Also known as relational antonyms, the relation of these antonyms are universally opposite.
    • black and white
    • husband and wife
    • pen and paper

 

Rule #3 – Root Word, Prefix and Suffix

Answering a question without knowing its meaning can be difficult. However, if you have an idea about the root words and prefix or suffix, the process becomes easier.

Root Words:

The basic or the main word that can be used to form different word and still relate to the same meaning is known as a root word.

For example:

  • Form – meaning Shape
    • reform – rebuilding the shape
    • deform – breakdown a shape
    • Formless – something that has no shape.

Prefix:

Words that are placed before the root word to change its meaning.

  • Positive prefix – pre, pro, re, super, en, co etc.
  • Negative Prefix – de, ir, im, mal, un, non, a, in etc.

For example:

    • able – unable
    • sane – insane
    • respect – disrespect
    • Operate – cooperate
    • code – decode
    • symmetrical – asymmetrical
    • sure – ensure

Suffix:

Words that are placed after the root word to change its meaning.

  • Some of the suffix are: less, ful, ment, ion, ive, dom, ism, ness, ship etc.

For example:

    • Free – freedom
    • Friend – Friendship
    • attain – attainment
    • happy – happiness
    • harm – harmful
    • harm – harmless


To understand the origin and meaning of Synonyms and Antonyms CLICK HERE!