Verbal Reasoning – Opposite Meaning (Type H)
- May 17, 2021
- Posted by: gg-pure
- Category: Verbal Reasoning
The Opposite Meaning question type requires you to look at 2 groups of words and select 1 word from each group. The words that you select must be the most opposite in meaning to each other so for example in Group 1 you have the word good and in Group 2 you have the word bad. They are the most opposite in meaning to each other.
You are having to identify two separate things here, these are:
- Words which are opposite to each other (antonyms)
- Words which actually mean the opposite (when used in language)
These points may seem very simple and almost indifferent from each other but the questions will progress and get harder making it more difficult for you to select the words that are opposite in meaning.
For you to be able to identify differences it is important you have clear methods of separating words, for example, based on relationships or on literal definitions. This question type overall will test a number of core skills including:
- Knowledge of the English language, words, definitions, synonyms and antonyms
- Analyzing 2 sets of information
- Being able to select information on similar or differing criteria (opposite in meaning)
- Comparing and filtering words and information based on direct relationships
- Removing words which have no direct relationship
The answers for the Opposite Meaning question type are very simple and straightforward – find 2 words which are opposite to each other from the word groups. The difficulty is finding those words amongst the other words thrown in to confuse you. These other words can consist of:
- Variations of words
- Slight differences in meaning – past, present or future and / or severity
- Not a direct opposite e.g. horrible is not a direct opposite of good
What you will need to demonstrate here is your ability to process information, filter out the non-relevant options and find words which have a relationship. Try to ask yourself what does it mean? Is it an adjective, verb, noun? Is it the most extreme word option? If you used it in a sentence could you replace it with the opposite word and have the opposite effect:
- That is a good idea
- That is a bad idea
What does the Opposite Meanings Question Type look like?
As you can see from the Gaggle example below, the Opposite Meanings question type is in the following format:
- General example with instructions
- 2 word groups
- 1 mark per question
- Multiple choice options on the answer sheet
How do I answer this question?
To confidently answer the Opposite Meanings question type not only do you need to have a strong foundation in English vocabulary, but you also need to quickly recognise relationships between words and things e.g. love and hate. What we mean by relationships is that the 2 words should mean the opposite of each other when used. This is something that you can easily practise whilst improving your vocabulary.
You have to work systematically through the word groups matching pairs of words which are opposites. This process will also help you in removing / filtering words which are too similar in meaning, have no relevance or are just slightly different. To apply a process what you can do is:
- Go through each word in Group 1 and understand its meaning – think of what the opposite could be?
- Check Word 1 in Group 1 against words in Group 2 – are they the same, do they mean the same thing or do they mean different things?
- If there is no match when it comes to opposites, carry on and go to Word 2 in Group 1 and match it against the words in Group 2
- If you have found a match put each word in a sentence e.g. It is a nice day
- Can you replace the word with the opposite word and will it then have the opposite meaning? It is a horrible day
Feel free to rely on your background knowledge to help you with answering the Opposite Meaning questions. Just remember that the question requires you to find words that are the most opposite in meaning – so are directly opposite to each other.
If you feel a pair of opposite words are more suitable for each other than other options ask yourself why, put it in a sentence and test that it makes sense.
Lets get through a working example just to put our process into practise:
Thick, Tall, Wide
Short, Grew, High
So what we want to do is quickly go through Group 1 words and match them with Group 2. We can start in any order but I will go for Thick first (I am going to think that the opposite for Thick is Thin).
Very quickly we can see that there is no opposite for the word Thick in Group 2 – there is also no similar word to Thin either (what I assumed the opposite could be).
Now lets look at Word 2 in Group 1 which is Tall (I know the opposite of Tall is Short).
In Group 2 we can quickly see that Short is in Group 2 and we know that Short is a direct opposite to Tall, lets test that out:
- Jim was very tall
- Jim was very short
That makes a lot of sense, quickly double checking Word 3 in Group 1 which is Wide we can see that no words match that in Group 2, so lets stick with the word pair we are confident with (Tall , Short).
What if I can’t find words with the opposite meanings?
As the questions get harder it is much more easier to find yourself in this position where distinguishing the differences between the words get harder. Always remember, the answer is there, you just need to work through the noise by filtering out words which are irrelevant to get to the answer. In case you find yourself in this situation you can do a few things:
- Go over the meanings with yourself
- Match 1 word with 1 word, working through systematically
- Put the words into sentences (this does work!)
If after this you are still struggling, even if you do not recognise some of the words, take your best guess by applying the filter and remove approach. Get rid of the words you are confident are irrelevant, make no sense or cannot be applied. By slowly reducing the number of options you have on the table you can make a more confident guess (you don’t have to be 100%!).