How can I Say that? synonyms

When working with your student in regards to writing it can be difficult to think of a word to replace the overused ones such as nice, pretty, and said. When this choice of words is used, sentences are not as powerful and don’t convey the meaning as well as specific, imaginative words do for a sentence. Here is an example: I fell off my bike and cried because I got hurt.  This does not convey much of a word picture for the reader. How about this instead? I was catapulted off my bike and screamed  loudly because I was in pain (replacement words are in italics). Don’t you have more sympathy and can “see” the accident better in the second sentence than in the first one?

I have found some resources that will help you and your student. Isn’t it wonderful  terrific, amazing, stupendous, that we have resources available to us? I love, adore, admire, appreciate websites that do this for me.

Lay the groundwork first

Does your scholar even know what synonyms and antonyms are before you go looking for replacements? Here are some websites that have worksheets that cover this topic.

Cut and Glue Synonyms click here

Here is a basic list of synonyms for young writers. click here

Synonyms for commonly used words in student’s writing has a list that will prove helpful. This can be used for younger writers with some help from you or you can have your older students use it on their own.


Play a game where you practice using synonyms and then play a game practicing antonyms. Be sure you have a thesaurus, or an online resource , or use a downloaded list such as this one: Make three columns on a piece of notebook paper or if you prefer, a whiteboard. In the first column heading write Word, the middle column write Synonym, and the last column write Antonym. With younger students have them come up with just one synonym and one antonym. With older students set the number you want (3-5 or more).

Here are some words to help you get started:

pretty, said, ask, nice,every, great, like, hate, get, take, buy, see, ugly

If you wanted more reinforcement by practicing here is a website that has synonym/antonym games for grade levels 3-12.

Find a paragraph or create your own in which your scholar replaces words to make powerful sentences. Here are some simple sentences to use for reinforcement. synonym sentences elementary and synonym sentences (middle school students) I have also written a story for middle school students and older for you to use. synonym story You may use this for both synonyms and antonyms. Since you are currently teaching synonyms do it that way first and then retell the story using antonyms.


Now that you have had practice it’s time to have your student(s) write a story using their own powerful words. Start small, choosing a few words to replace. As they progress in their writing you can increase the number of words.

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