Describing a word you don’t know in English

If you don’t know a word in English, you can use these words to describe it:

Opposite

  • hot / cold
  • big / small
  • cheap / expensive
  • young / old

Examples:

“I don’t know the word – it’s the opposite of ‘tall.'”
“Short?”
“Yes!”

“What’s the opposite of ‘far‘?”
“Near.”
“Thanks! My school is near my house.”

Check out this list of 40 common opposites in English!

Similar

Words that have related definitions but are not the same.

Examples:

  • apple / orange (both are fruit)
  • tiger / lion (both are from the cat family)
  • pencil / pen (you use both to write)
  • dress / skirt (both are items of clothing)

Examples:

“It’s similar to a book, but you write in it.”
“A notebook?”
“Yes!”

“It’s similar to a birthday, but for marriage.”
“An anniversary?”
“Yes!”

“It’s similar to a horse, but it’s black and white.”
“A zebra?”
“Yes!”

Kind / Type

You use these words to talk about a word that is inside a category:

Category: FRUIT

Apple

Banana

Grapes

Pear

Mango

Category: ANIMALS

Cat

Dog

Mouse

Horse

Elephant

Category: CLOTHING

Shirt

Pants

Hat

Shoes

Dress

Examples:

A banana is a type of fruit that is yellow.

A mouse is a kind of animal that is small and grey.

A dress is a type of clothing that women wear.

Related lessons:

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