Antonyms are synonymous with opposites but they have a more restricted meaning. They are word pairs that have opposite meaning, that lie on a continuous spectrum. They can be divided into:

  1. Graded antonyms – These are words that have meanings that lie on a continuous spectrum Example – hot and cold, tall and short, etc.
  2. Complementary antonyms – These words are opposite but do not lie on a continuous spectrum. Example – push and pull, on and off, alive and dead.
  3. Relational antonyms – these words make sense only in the context of relationship such as a teacher and a pupil.

Here are some of the most commonly used antonyms that we come across every day.

  1. Absent – present
  2. Arrive – depart
  3. Advantage – disadvantage
  4. Forward – backward
  5. Cruel – kind
  6. Increase – decrease
  7. Forget – remember
  8. Honest – dishonest
  9. Stupid – intelligent
  10. Yes – no

Antonyms are a part of our vocabulary and every day conversation. These words are so extensively used, yet we do not recognise them. Try to segregate them on their basis and you will be surprised to know how many words you can collect.

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