Synonyms based on Emotion

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Synonyms can be used to provide more specific (or more general) information about the original word, or they can reflect/establish the tone of the situation. Sometimes a good synonym can not only replace a word with similar meaning, but can also eliminate the need for a modifier.

In this project, we’ll look at synonyms for verbs that incorporate an emotion or attitude that the doer of the action (the subject) exhibits. For instance, what’s the difference between strut, mosey, dawdle, and prance? The are all synonyms of walk (or perhaps more broadly: go). The differences between them do involve physicality, but also each tends to be associated with a cert set of emotions or attitudes. For example, strut demonstrates confidence, while dawdle demonstrates reluctance or uncertainty. Thus, we could say that ‘walk confidently’ = ‘strut’ and that ‘walk hesitantly’ = ‘dawdle’.

Put your students into groups of three, perhaps, give them the following list of verbs. You may need to demonstrate each verb, or at least the ones they request. The students must identify an emotion or attitude that is associated with each (if you’d like to practice adverbs, have them but the emotion/attitude in adverb form and place it next to the general verb, as with the end of the previous paragraph). To accomplish this, students may have to consult a dictionary, or you may need to introduce more emotion words.

WALK

 

strut

mosey

dawdle

prance

scoot

hobble

plod

creep

shuffle

trot

stagger

gallop

traipse

trudge

swagger

waddle

glide

meander

LOOK

 

glance

survey

peek

gawk

behold

peruse

scrutinize

leer

ogle

TELL

 

divulge

command

insist

utter

articulate

pronounce

assert

mutter

exclaim

snarl

hiss

bellow

swear

whine

stammer

jabber

protest

mumble

LAUGH

 

chuckle

snicker

crack up

shriek

giggle

chortle

guffaw

titter

snort

TAKE

 

accept

seize

snatch

attain

collect

grab

Note that there my be more than one correct answer to some of these. For example, swearing could be done in anger, or it could be done in all earnestness.

As always, feel free to add your own words to these groups, or to add your own group to this list.

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