What are the differences between synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms?
Let's take a look at homonyms first . . .
Homonyms are words that are spelled or sound the same, but have different meanings.
Homophones are homonyms that sound the same.
Homographs are homonyms that are spelled the same.
(Note to Instructor: Elaborate on the connection to Greek and Latin roots and affixes.)
For example . . .
bass and base are our homophones (a guitar / bottom of a thing at rest)
bass and bass are homographs (a guitar / a fish)
You can usually tell which homophone is meant by using the context.
Synonyms are words that mean the same thing or almost the same thing, such as gigantic and huge, both of which are adjectives meaning big. We call them synonymous.
A word can have lots of synonyms. For example, courageous, fearless, and bold are all synonyms for the word brave.
Antonyms are words that mean the opposite or almost the opposite. Examples of antonyms include fast and slow, stop and go, and love and hate.
There can be more than two antonyms, just as there can be more than two synonyms. For example, dirty, filthy, grimy, dusty, foul, muddy, and unwashed are all antonyms of clean. We call them antonymous.