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synonym

An alternative to looking up definitions of new words as vocabulary expansion, is to choose near-synonyms and have a discussion about what sets the words apart from one another. 

Ask students to find the difference between the following word pairs:

  1. Abstain and refrain
  2. Amateur and a novice
  3. Artist and artisan
  4. Aware and conscious
  5. Bashful and modest
  6. Bravery and bravado
  7. Déjà vu and precognition
  8. Discriminate and distinguish
  9. Envy and jealousy
  10. Eldest and oldest
  11. Elude and evade
  12. Fluid and liquid
  13. Further and farther
  14. Fewer and less
  15. Frugal and stingy
  16. Grieve and mourn
  17. Genuine and authentic
  18. Hanged and hung
  19. Hear and listen
  20. Human and humane
  21. Irony and sarcasm
  22. Imply and infer
  23. Lend and loan
  24. Lie and lay
  25. Linger and loiter
  26. Moral and ethical
  27. Myth and legend
  28. perseverance, persistence
  29. prejudice, bias
  30. prelude, overture
  31. pride, vanity
  32. principal, principle
  33. process, procedure
  34. reasonable and rational
  35. Repentance and regret
  36. scrupulous, conscientious
  37. serf, slave
  38. silent and taciturn
  39. strut and swagger
  40. unique and unusual
  41. variety and diversity
  42. wander and stray
  43. warn, caution
  44. will, volition
  45. wit, humor
  46. witness, see
  47. worth, value 

Some ways to compare include:

  • Connotation and denotation
  • Attitude difference
  • part of speech
  • intention
  • audience
  • value
  • root word
  • degree
  • kind
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