Improve Your Academic Writing: Synonyms for Nouns

Sep 7

Synonyms for Nouns

A synonym is a word that has the same (or almost the same) meaning as another word. It is very useful to have a good knowledge of synonyms. If you use the same words throughout your assignments, your writing will seem monotonous and unsophisticated. 

For example, if you were writing an essay about the introduction of a government policy, your reader would find it rather boring if you kept using the words introduce, government and policy.

To make your writing more interesting, (where appropriate) you should use words that have the same or similar meanings. Here are some examples of words that you might use in the report about government policy.

Examples of synonym changes

If you want to find synonyms for key words in your assignments, you should consult a thesaurus. This is a reference book which lists words with similar meanings. 

You can also check the thesaurus on your word processing programme; e.g. in Microsoft Word, highlight a word and press Shift and F7.

However, you need to be careful when using a thesaurus because no two words or expressions are identical in meaning (as the examples above indicate). If a thesaurus states that two words are synonymous (e.g. start and commence), it does not necessarily mean that they are interchangeable in every context.

In the case of start and commence, the former tends to be used in everyday communication whereas the latter tends to be restricted to formal contexts.
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