Antonyms: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:05 What Are Antonyms?
  • 0:28 Which Words Can Be Antonyms?
  • 2:10 Fake Antonyms
  • 2:42 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jeremy Cook

I have been teaching elementary school for 16 years. I have extensive experience in lesson and curriculum development and educational technology.

In this lesson, we'll discuss antonyms, or opposite words. You'll learn about the different types of words that can be antonyms, and you'll learn how to spot antonyms in text.

What Are Antonyms?

If we lived in an opposite world, it would be kind of weird. Water would be dry and the sky would be down. Many things in our world have opposites. In grammar, we refer to direct opposites as antonyms, words that mean the opposite or reverse of each other. For instance, ''down'' is an antonym for ''up,'' and ''wet'' is an antonym for ''dry.''

Which Words Can Be Antonyms?

Only certain words and concepts have opposites. The one part of speech that almost never has an antonym is the noun. Let's think of a noun. Take the word ''shark,'' for example. Can you think of the direct opposite of a shark? There is no antonym! So, which types of words can be antonyms? There's no strict answer to this question, but let's take a look at words that can typically have antonyms:


Mostly, antonyms are adjectives, which are words that describe nouns. Let's look at some examples of adjective antonym pairs:



Another type of word that can have an antonym is the preposition, which shows a relationship between words or location. Let's look at some examples of preposition antonym pairs:



Verbs, which are action words, can also sometimes have antonyms. Let's look at some examples of verb antonym pairs:


What about colors? When it comes to colors, there are only two words that make an antonym pair: ''black'' and ''white.'' These two colors are opposites because black is the absence of color, while white is the presence of all colors. No other colors can be antonyms.

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