Synonyms are words or phrases that have similar meanings and can be used interchangeably to explain a concept or an idea. Synonyms are basically the polished version of English skills, such that the choice of words chosen is most apt as per the context.
Synonyms are greatly popular for the following reasons
#1 It enhances your vocabulary and helps you express the meaning of the words in multiple ways depending on the situation, or the person you are interacting with.
For example: When talking to a friend you would usually say: Can you show me the ‘correct’ method to ‘build’ this toy?
When talking to an elder: Ma’am, can you please explain the ‘accurate’ steps to ‘construct’ this toy?
In the above sentence the following synonyms are noticed –
correct <-> accurate
build <-> construct
As we can notice in the example; the first sentence is more casual and the choice of words are simple, but the second one is more thought-through and profound. It sounds as if the child wants to impress the teacher.
#2 Repetition of using the same word multiple times in a sentence is avoidable thanks to the usage of synonyms. Verbal and written communication is therefore elevated and taken to the next level, thereby flaunting one’s rich exposure to vocabulary.
Sentence 1: I saw a big elephant. The elephant was so big that he could reach the tree branch.
Sentence 2: I saw a big elephant. The elephant was humungous, such that he could reach the tree branch. As you can see, instead of repeating the word ‘big’ twice, the synonym ‘humongous’ is used.
The meaning remains the same, but we could do away with using the same word ‘big’ twice. Alternate usage of words intrigues the audience and keeps their interest alive while reading a storybook.
#3 multi-cultural communication is better understood when one is aware that the same word has many alternatives.
The word ‘train’ (meaning teach in English) has a list of synonyms such as the following: instruct, coach, tutor, educate, upskill, and so on….
In the French language entraîneur (masculine) means a ‘coach’ which is the same as ‘trainer’ or ‘tutor’.
Now, if you did not know that coach in English has multiple synonyms, how would you be able to understand that entraîneur also means male tutor?
Do synonyms have the exact same meaning?
Well, this is a bit tricky to answer because no two words ever mean the exact same. It’s not like math where 2 = 2 or 7 = 7 (which is the exact same number). The meaning of the synonyms may slightly differ, however, the idea to be conveyed is pretty much the same.
For example: If you enter the search word ‘money’ in Google you will be surprised to find 20+ words that are associated with ‘money’.
Similar words to money on Google are- cash, ready money, coin, silver, paper money, currency, change, and so on.
If you read a statement that goes like this; your money will be repaid in 20 days – does not indicate that you will be getting a stack of silver coins in 20 days. It could mean cash or paper money.
So, the literal meaning of money is not perfectly synonymous with silver coins.
Therefore, English is indeed a complex language and different words are to be used as per the context, grammar, and various structured levels, to get the explanation right.
Children can even sometimes land up making mistakes, especially when their native language or mother tongue is non-English or Arabic for Arab children from Dubai in the Middle East. English is taught to them in school later, as it is universally accepted in the education and corporate world.
Keeping a dictionary handy always helps, and you may feel free to purchase a multi-linguistic dictionary available in GCC regions, where the English words have their corresponding Arabic words, to educate children and get into the momentum of judging the correct synonym properly.
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