Synonyms are words, within the same language, that share the same or a similar meaning. Two words are known to be synonymous if you could replace them in a sentence, and the meaning doesn’t change.
“Syn” is the Greek prefix meaning together, and “onym” is the Greek root word meaning name. So, very specifically, synonym means that two words are together in name or meaning.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
Important – Essential – Crucial – Imperative – Significant
These are all synonyms for one another.
Important means that something is of significant value.
Essential means that something is very important or completely necessary.
Crucial means that something is of great importance or critical to achieving something.
Imperative means that something is vitally important.
Significant means that something is of notable importance.
As you can see, when we look at each of these words and their definition, there is overlap. They all share close to identical or very similar meanings. Important and significant share almost identical meanings. They are each used in the other’s definition. Essential, crucial, and imperative are synonyms to important and significant, but as we can see in their definitions there seems to be a higher level of intensity behind them; but they are still very similar.
Synonyms are very important. They can help liven up our writing by preventing over repetition.
So, you want to stress the importance of something, but you’ve already used it in seventeen other places, then just pull a word from your list of synonyms.
Another reason that knowing synonyms are important is, because on the SAT, ACT, or GRE you will more than likely be expected to know synonyms for other words. You may also be expected to know the definition of a certain word. Well, like we saw in our example, a lot of the time, the definition will contain a synonym for the word being defined. So, this can be a clue to help you answer the question correctly.
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