Learning synonyms helps students grow their vocabulary and increase their comprehension. Eventually, synonyms give them more options in speaking and writing, too. Below you will find some of the Spanish synonyms I teach my students, and some of my activities including vocabulary cards with 29 synonym pairs.
I teach my students this definition of a synonym: Los sinónimos son palabras que tienen el mismo, o casi el mismo, significado. These are some of the words they are often already familiar with that I can use as examples of synonyms.
Common Spanish Synonyms
These pairs of synonyms are common vocabulary, so the words come up in songs, stories and poems. I also use them in classroom activities. Although I teach one word initially, when a synonym appears in a story or song, I point it out and relate it to the word my students know.
I also ask my students to help spot Spanish synonyms. After we have read a story, or if we have sentences on the board, I’ll often take a moment to identify words that have synonyms. I don’t ask them to produce the synonym, rather, I’ll give them vocabulary we have talked about before with an example, and ask them which word in the story or song is a synonym.
If we are working specifically on the concept of synonyms, I introduce the words in simple sentences. For example, Mi hermano es médico (doctor). Con mis lentes (gafas), veo muy bien. Mi papá tiene pelo (cabello) negro.
Spanish Synonyms in Specific Contexts
I also introduce students to words and phrases that have similar meanings that we use in a specific context. For example, my students learn several different ways to say good-bye. When we talk about synonyms, I ask them to list them and they can usually come up with several different options. This is partly because one of our good-bye songs is Adiós by Music with Sara. It is full of synonyms! You can hear the song below and buy it on Amazon or iTunes.
Another way of using a specific context to talk about Spanish synonyms is introducing the different ways we say we like something. This works really well with a food unit. You can find a printable (with a white background) of the image below here: Ways to Say Delicious in Spanish.
Spanish Synonyms: Printable Activities
These are a few of my Spanish synonyms activities. Use the cards for matching activities and to play memory. There are 29 pairs of synonyms with 58 common words.
There are also 2 matching activities where students color the synonym pairs the same color. I have divided those into adjectives and nouns.
Do you have favorite ways to learn Spanish synonyms? Please share your ideas and activities in the comments below!