If you don’t know or can’t remember an exact word – don’t worry! There are lots of things you can do to communicate without saying the exact word. These are very useful strategies that even native speakers use.

General words

If you can’t remember the word ‘surgeon’, you could say a more general word like ‘doctor’.

Examples

If you don’t know the word ‘cutlery’, you could give examples such as ‘knife, fork and spoon’.

Relative clauses to give a description

(It’s a person who ... / thing that ... / place where ... )

If you don’t know the word ‘briefcase’, you could say ‘It’s a thing that people use to carry papers to work’.

Describe the purpose or function (It’s used to + infinitive / for + -ing)

If you don’t know the word ‘scissors’, you could say ‘They are used to cut paper’ or ‘They are used for cutting paper’.

This strategy works well with objects that have a clear use or function.

Synonyms (words that mean the same)

If you don’t know the word ‘tiny’, you could say ‘very small’.

This strategy works well with nouns and adjectives.

Antonyms (opposite words)

If you don’t know the word ‘weak’, you could say ‘not strong’.

This strategy works well with adjectives.

Approximations (It’s a kind of ... / It’s a sort of ...)

If you don’t know the word ‘bungalow’, you could say ‘It’s a kind of house’ or ‘It’s a sort of house’.

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Discussion

How well did you do in the exercise?  Do you have any tips to learn and remember synonyms and antonyms?

Comments

habtsh's picture
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habtsh 6 August, 2017 - 05:13

I like your means of methedology.I hope I get a good result. Currently l have learning English language.

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