Bolstering Student Vocabulary with Shades of Meaning

Shades of meaning is defined as a slight difference in the meaning of words. For example, sip, drink, gulp. Why is it important for kids to learn the shades of meaning of words?

When students learn the shades of meaning of words, they acquire a greater vocabulary of related words. It helps them be more expressive in the way they articulate themselves.

For example:

I drank the hot cup of tea.

Is less expressive than:

I sipped the hot cup of tea cautiously.

What is ‘shades of meaning’?

Shades of meaning is a group of similar words, or synonyms, that have varying degrees of strength.

For example, the word happy has many synonyms and its degrees of strength could look like this (there are more synonyms for happy):

Satisfied – pleased – content - peaceful – happy – cheerful – delighted – thrilled – overjoyed – jubilant – elated.

Shades of meaning example

We’ve created worksheets for students to practice shades of meaning at the grade 2 and grade 3 levels. Both sets of worksheets can be found in our vocabulary section.

Grade 2 shades of meaning worksheets

Students work on grouping similar meaning words by drawing lines between those groups of words in these worksheets.

Grade 2 shades of meaning worksheet

Practice shades of meaning at the grade 3 level

Students are asked to categorize words by their shades of meaning in these worksheets.

Grade 3 shades of meaning worksheets

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