Antonyms - A teacher's guide with over 200 examples (2023)

We will cover antonyms in this blog including what they are, what they do, what you need to teach, lots of examples and some worksheets for your class.

Table of contents

Antonyms - What is it?

The English language is complex. With a history of adding words and phrases from around the world, the English language is full of ways to say the same thing in a hundred different ways. It is this ability to convey minute nuances that helps make English a rich and varied language.

"She walked down the corridor." - Is pretty uninteresting and boring while "She marched down the corridor", "She trotted down the corridor", "She flew down the corridor", "She wandered down the corridor", all something implies something else and makes us wonder why it runs like this.

Encouraging students to expand their vocabulary by using more "interesting" ways of describing a situation or conveying an idea is one of the best ways to improve their writing.

This blog is about antonyms, but as in the national curriculum, we will summarize some information on synonyms here.

Antonyms - A teacher's guide with over 200 examples (1)

The Suffix-onymcomes from ancient Greek and means "name". For example, an acronym is a word formed from the first letter or letters of each of the sequential parts or main parts of a compound term such as Radar – RAdio Detection And Ranging. There is a great and distracting list of-onymwords onWikipedia.

-onymWords provide a means of classifying groups of words with common attributes.

Here we will deal with antonyms (but synonyms and homonyms are also part of the national curriculum).

Antonymare words with opposite meanings. For example good and bad.

Synonymousare words with similar meanings. For example tiny & small. You can learn more about synonyms in ourEmil Articlewith over 600 examples, which is a synonym.

Namesakeare words that are pronounced and spelled the same but have different meanings. A band can be a music group or a ring, for example.

This makes more sense the more examples you see (and we have loads of examples for you!)

Antonyms - What you need to teach.

Antonyms - A teacher's guide with over 200 examples (2)

Students just need to understand what an 'antonym' or opposite word means.

SAT questions usually prompt students by referring to 'opposite'. Once a student understands the principle, you should only need to remind them occasionally to anchor the understanding.

Antonyms - A teacher's guide with over 200 examples (3)

Antonyms - lesson ideas.

Begin your antonyms lesson by reviewing what synonym and antonym mean.

Get your class going by encouraging them to list as many synonyms for "big" as possible as a class alone, in pairs, or in groups.

Then make a list of antonyms for "big".

Ask why adding synonyms and antonyms to their vocabulary is beneficial. (It's an easy way to expand them to make their writing more engaging and expand their vocabulary.)

Anton Bingo!

Antonyms - A teacher's guide with over 200 examples (4)

Bingo is a great way to engage students - especially contestants - with almost any vocabulary unit you teach.

To play antonym bingo, you need a list of words and their antonyms (see below :-)) that your students already know.

Print out blank bingo boards - a 15-field table - for your class - one for each student.

Display more than 30 words from the list on your IWB.

Ask each student to fill their bingo board with random words from the list.

How to play the game:

Randomly read words opposite to those on the iWB.

If a student has a word with the opposite meaning, they can check it off.

Remind students not to mark the word they hear, but the opposite!

When someone calls bingo, check the words you called and the corresponding antonyms to make sure the win is true. This can be a great opportunity to review the antonym pairs with your students.

Grammar with Emil

A problem almost all teachers run into is that students remember what antonyms are when they've met them recently, but a few weeks later they may have forgotten all about them.

Grammar with Emilis a great way to harness the power of competition and have them quickly recall grammar terms like antonyms and synonyms.

Antonyms - A teacher's guide with over 200 examples (5)

A list of over 200 antonyms for the classroom

absent - present
accept – reject, reject
exactly - inaccurately
advantage disadvantage
against - for
agree disagree
all – none, nothing
always never
Answer question
antonymous - synonymous!
separately - together
appear - disappear
agree Disagree
arrive - depart
ascend - descend
awake - asleep

backward forward
bad good
pretty ugly
before, afterwards
begin - end
under over
best worst
better worse
big - small, small
bitter - sweet
down up
lighten - fade
wide narrow

can - can't, can't
able – unable
careful careless
cheap expensive
clear - opaque
clockwise – counterclockwise
near far
closed open
Cold hot
Comfort - Discomfort
often - rarely
mandatory – voluntary
hide - reveal
cold warm
right - wrong, wrong
create - destroy
cruel - kind

dark light
day Night
day time night time
decrease increase
deep - shallow
definite - indefinite
demand supply
disappear - appear
discourage - encourage
down - up
down - up

beginning end
easy - difficult, difficult
empty full
encourage - discourage
End - beginning, beginning
enter - exit
even odd
outside inside
externally internally

fade – lighten
fail - succeed
False right
famous - unknown
far - near
Fast Slow
first - last
swim - sink
fold - unfold
stupid - wise
for – against
forget remember
happy - unhappy
found - lost
friend enemy
full empty

soft - rough
girl boy
gloomy - happy
go - stop
good - bad, evil
grow - shrink
guest – host
guilty - innocent

happy Sad
hard – light, soft
strong light
High Low
honest dishonest
Horizontal, Vertical
hot Cold
humble - proud

sick - healthy, good
important - trivial
just out
include exclude
increase decrease
breath in, breath out
inner outer
inside Outside
intelligent - stupid, unintelligent
intentionally - accidentally
Inside Outside
intern extern
connect – separate
Junior Senior
fair - unfair
Justice - Injustice

knowledge - ignorance
known - unknown

big small
last first
laugh cry
lawful – unlawful, illegal
Left Right
borrow -borrow
lengthen - shorten
indulgent - strict
less more
light – dark, heavy
like – dislike, hate
likely - unlikely
limited - limitless
small big
long short
locker – fest
lose - find
Defeat - Victory
loud quiet
low High

many few
ripe – immature
Maximum Minimum
melt - freeze
messy neat
Minority - Majority
misunderstand - understand
more less

Nadir - Zenit
thin wide
neat – messy, untidy
never ever
new old
Night Day
Night Day
no Yes
loud - quiet
none - some
Nord Süd

obedient - disobedient
odd even
old New
old - young
and out
Optimist – Pessimist
out - in
outer inner
over under

Past present
patient impatient
Peace - War
permanent - temporary
plentiful - scarce
plural singular
possible impossible
Poverty – wealth, wealth
strong weak
pretty ugly
private public
prudent - careless
pure - impure
push pull

qualified – unqualified
question answer

raise - lower
Fast Slow
rarely - often
real fake
regularly irregular
rich poor
right – left, wrong
rough smooth

sure - unsure
same - opposite
satisfactory – unsatisfactory
sure - unsure
separate – connect, together
ernst – trivial
shallow depth
shrink - grow
sick – healthy, sick
simple – complex, difficult
singular plural
sink - swim
slim – fat, fat
slow fast
sober - drunk
soft hard
some - none
suffering - joy
sweet Sour
sow reap
start end
go stop
straight – crooked
strong weak
Success - failure
sunny cloudy
synonymous – antonymous

take Give
big small
tame - wild
you us
there – here
thick thin
together separated
up down
tough – light, tender
true false

under over
unfold - fold
unknown - known
unqualified – qualified
insecure - sure
up down
up down
we She
useful useless

big - tiny
Victory - defeat
Virtue - Vice
visible - invisible
voluntary – mandatory

war peace
Wax - lose weight
weak strong
wet dry
White black
wide narrow
win lose
inside Outside
false right

Yes No
young - old

Zenit - Nadir
zip - unzip

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