Lexis and Semantics

Key Definitions:

  • Lexis- Vocabulary
  • Semantics- Words that mean different things depending  on the audience, context and the way they are said.

In English, there are approximately 1.2 million words. English has a huge lexicon because it has so many synonyms.  By synonyms we mean words which have similar meanings or are similar to each other for example comical and hilarious which both connote something happy. They are the not the same word however they have the same meaning this is what is meant by synonyms.

Synonyms are useful to use when studying english language as it can develop your writing skills  and make your writing more descriptive.


Example of synonyms

Word class

Nouns:  names a person, place or thing

  • Proper noun:  refers to places and names e.g. Zayn, New York
  • Abstract noun:  refers to feelings and concepts which you can not physically see e.g you cant see if someone is angry
  • Concrete noun: refers to objects which you can physically see e.g a chair

Nouns are useful in the study of english language and literature as it tells the reader what the you are talking about.


Verbs: identify an action or state of being

  • Material: shows and action or event e.g. run and build
  • Relational: It identifies properties or shows states of being

Image result for relational verbs

  • Mental:  shows sensing and feeling e.g. think, believe and wish
  • Verbal : process of saying e.g. say, shout  and scream


 Adjectives ad adverbs:  An adjective describes a noun or a pronoun whereas  an adverb describes verbs and adjectives.

  • Base:  A basic form of an adjective or adverb, modifying another word e.g. big and interesting
  • Comparative: Comparing two instances together either adding ‘ er ‘ or using ‘ more’ e.g. that was a more interesting game
  • Superlative:  A form used to compare more than two things together


Key words:

  • Hypernym: Words with a broad meaning
  • Hyponym: Words with a narrow meaning
  • Euphemism: A mild, often indirect way of saying something socially unacceptable or negative
  • Dysphemism:  Negative , unpleasant or derogatory way




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