Antonyms – Online English Lessons

An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another word.


big and small (e.g. the huge cruise ship and the tiny sail boat in the photo above 🙂 )

true and false

in and out

fast and slow

early and late

hot and cold

happy and sad

off and on

quiet and loud

clean and dirty

push and pull

old and young

all and none

empty and full

hot and cold


1. Converse or relational antonyms are those where one cannot exist without the other. 

For example, if someone is a husband there must also be a wife; and if someone is a parent then there must also be a child.

doctor and patient

grandparent and grandchild

teacher and pupil

teach and learn

buy and sell

borrow and lend

employer and employee

give and receive

2. Graded or gradable antonyms are those which operate on a continuum..

For example, something can be very loud or very quiet, or quite loud or quite quiet; or any degree of volume in between two extremes.

evil and good

big and small

dark and light

hot and cold

best and worst

hard and soft

wide and narrow

high and low

nervous and calm

fat and thin

3. Complementary antonyms are those which express an either / or relationship: there is no continuum or middle ground between two these extremes.

For example, something can be either dead or alive or true or false– it cannot be between these extremes.

attack and defend

depart and arrive

on and off

push and pull

exterior and interior

send and receive

exit and entrance

exhale and inhale

Can you think of any other examples of antonyms?

Please share them with me 🙂

Image © kansasphoto