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Language - Opposites Attract!

Have you ever noticed that sometimes very opposite people wind up together? There is an unseen magnet that seems to pull them together. Opposites, however, make life very interesting. Sure, a nice sunny day if beautiful but what if that is all that you ever had? After a while it would get kind of boring. And, what if it rained every day? It might be nice for the plants but after a while – too much rain will kill the plants and grass and weaken the roots of trees, toppling them over. The truth is, we need opposites to make sense out of almost everything. So in the light of opposites, in this Spanish Medium Review quiz you will be looking at words that are opposites of each other.

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Do you remember what opposite words were called in English? The definition was that two words that mean the opposite thing of each other or nearly the opposite are known as antonyms. For example, we could say: The plate is full. The opposite would be: The plate is empty. Full and empty have the opposite meanings making them antonyms.

OPPOSITES AND ADJECTIVES

The other thing to remember is that antonyms are adjectives in that they further describe a person, place or thing. Therefore, in Spanish you need to remember that adjectives take on the masculine and feminine forms of the words they are describing.

As you had to learn antonyms in English, so too do you need to learn antonyms in Spanish. Therefore, let’s take a look at some Spanish antonyms to add to your vocabulary bank of words.

OPPOSITES

ENGLISH SPANISH
full lleno / llena
empty vacío / vacía
hungry hambriento / hambrienta
dark oscuro / oscura
light ligero / ligera
high alto / alta
low bajo / baja
rich rico / rica
poor pobre (same for masculine and feminine)
old viejo / vieja (note that the J has an H sound)
young joven (same for masculine and feminine) (note that the J has an H sound)
thin delgado / delgada
fat gordo / gorda
short corto / corta
tall alto / alta (note that this is the same as high)
up arriba (same for masculine and feminine)
down abajo (same for masculine and feminine)
top of arriba de
under debajo de
ahead por delante
behind detrás de
straight recto / recta
crooked torcido / torcida
flat plano / plana
bumpy disparejo / dispareja (uneven) and/or lleno de baches (bumpy)
top superior (same for masculine and feminine)
bottom inferior (same for masculine and feminine)
above encima de (same for masculine and feminine)
below debajo de (same for masculine and feminine)
near cercano / cercana
far away lejos (same for masculine and feminine)
many muchos / muchas
few pocos / pocas

Once you have studied each of the words above, move on to the quiz below. There are ten sentences that each have a word that has been shown in all capitalized letters. Your task is to find the opposite word of the word that has been capitalized. Remember spelling and form to find the correct answer.

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  1. Jacqueline wanted to sit NEAR Alice.
    Remember that you are looking for the opposite of near. The last answer, cercana, means near so it is clearly not correct. The opposite of near is far and/or far away from. In Spanish, far away is lejos.
  2. Daddy liked the land because it was FLAT.
    Remember that in this sentence, flat is describing the land. Because it is describing a thing it must take on the masculine or feminine form. The Spanish word for land is tierra. The first and second answers show the masculine form so they can both quickly be eliminated. The Spanish word for flat is plana but you are looking for the opposite of flat. The opposite would be uneven. The Spanish word for uneven in the feminine form is dispareja.
  3. The water level was very LOW.
    In this sentence low is describing the water level. The Spanish word for water is agua which is a feminine word. This means that you now need to find the feminine form of the opposite word. The opposite of low is high. The Spanish word for high is alta.
  4. Martha looked in the mirror and noticed that she had gotten very FAT.
    In this sentence the capitalized word fat is describing Martha. As Martha is a female the opposite word for fat must take on the feminine form. The last answer is a masculine form word so it can be quickly eliminated. The opposite of fat would be thin. The Spanish feminine word for thin is delgada.
  5. Andrew has MANY friends.
    In this sentence many is describing friends. Since you don’t know if the friends are all boys or all girls or a mixture of both, then you always use the masculine form of the word. The second and last answers show feminine forms so they can be quickly eliminated. The masculine Spanish word for many is muchos but you are looking for the opposite of that. The opposite of many is few. The masculine Spanish word for few is pocos.
  6. The box he found was FULL.
    The capitalized word full is describing the box. The Spanish word for box is (la) caja making it a feminine word. The first and last answers show masculine words we you know that they can be eliminated. The opposite word of full is empty. The feminine Spanish word for empty is vacía.
  7. He hated that his teeth were CROOKED.
    The capitalized word crooked is describing the teeth. The Spanish word for teeth is los dientes which is a masculine word. The last answer shows a feminine word so it can be quickly eliminated. The opposite of crooked is straight. The masculine Spanish word for straight is recto.
  8. The movie theater was LIGHT.
    The capitalized word light is describing the movie theater. The Spanish word for movie theater is (el) cine making it a masculine word. The first and third answers are feminine words so they can now be eliminated. The opposite of light is dark. The masculine Spanish word for dark is oscuro.
  9. The cat went UP the stairs.
    Here the capitalized word up is describing the verb went. How did the cat go? The cat went up. Now you need to find the opposite of up and that would be down. The Spanish word for down is abajo.
  10. Michael thought is grandfather was very OLD.
    The capitalized word old is describing the grandfather. This then tells you that you are looking for a masculine word. The first answer is a feminine word so it can now be eliminated. The opposite of old is young. The masculine Spanish word for young is joven.

Author: Christine G. Broome

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