Whether as young students writing essays or as college students writing thesis papers, we all spend a great deal of time writing. In the majority of cases, even after school adults spend a lot of their time writing, either as part of their job or simply for correspondence. As a result, it is really important to take the time to improve our writing. On this note, the use of synonyms can help anyone to become a better writer, especially students. First of all though, it is necessary to understand what synonyms are and how they can be beneficial.
What Are Synonyms?
“Synonyms are synonyms,” is the explanation often given to define what a synonym actually is. In truth, a synonym is a word that is similar to the word you are trying to use. For example, “similar” can be a synonym to “synonym,” while “good” is synonymous with “fine”; “advantageous” is synonymous with “beneficial”; “sultry” and “hot” are synonymous, and so on. Synonyms pop up everywhere; if someone is talking about a lion, they can even use the word “predator” instead, because any word that means roughly the same thing as another word can be synonymous.
Synonyms vs. Antonyms
There are also antonyms, and some people have a hard time distinguishing between antonyms and synonyms. Because the two words sound alike, it is easy for a person to get them confused if he or she does not first understand what they mean. To put it simply, antonyms and synonyms are literally complete opposites – and that is what an antonym is as well. For instance, “cold” is antonymous with “hot”; “sunny” and “gloomy” are antonyms; and “carnivore” and “herbivore” are antonyms. Therefore, when talking about a zebra, for example, it is not correct to refer to it as a “predator,” because the two are not synonymous.
The Importance of Synonyms
Synonyms are incredibly important in writing as well as in reading, and a writer must always consider the reader during the writing process, even if it is only a school paper. After all, high school teachers and college instructors read hundreds of papers each week; if students are using the same words over and over, the reader is going to get very bored incredibly quickly, which could have a negative effect on the overall opinion of the piece. Synonyms keep things interesting for writers and readers alike. They spice up narrative, paint better pictures, and make sure that the writing does not get too monotonous.
When to Use Synonyms
Synonyms are useful in many situations where a person will be writing. In fictional or creative writing, especially, they keep the subject matter from being too repetitious, which is important for the flow of the work and vital in making sure the reader stays interested. However, even in works of nonfiction, articles, essays, journal posts, and so on, using synonyms when writing about a set subject will keep the writer from repeating his or herself too much. Repetition can look sloppy, unprofessional, and even lazy because it seems the writer does not care. However, writers should always avoid fanciful synonyms because that borders on purple prose.
The use of synonyms is ideal in improving anyone's writing abilities, tone, and style. With this in mind, a thesaurus really is a writer’s best friend. However, it is important to be careful in the choice of synonym as it is always prudent to keep literature simple to read.