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Reference Skills
Volume 4, Number 8, October 26, 1998

Using a Thesaurus

Synonyms are words that mean the same thing or have very similar meanings. Sometimes a word can be replaced with a synonym that sounds better in a particular context.


OK: The two candidates stood on stage and argued the issues.
Better: The two candidates stood on stage and debated the issues.

The words “argued” and “debated” are synonyms, but “debated” is more appropriate in the sentence’s context.

A thesaurus can help you find synonyms. Use a thesaurus to decide which word should replace the underlined synonym in each sentence.

1. It took Tammy quite a while to retrieve her confidence after she fell off the horse.

a. learn
b. relinquish
c. regain
d. reserve

2. Richard is too ethical to commit such a sin.

a. virtuous
b. incapable
c. reluctant
d. intelligent

3. She is using all those jewels to make a very fancy dress.

a. silly
b. heavy
c. expensive
d. ornamental

4. After eating nothing for 30 hours, the hungry hiker ate three large pizzas.

a. treacherous
b. arduous
c. ravenous
d. amorous

5. Scratching the ticket will show the possible prize.

a. program
b. fair
c. guide
d. reveal




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