Learn how to find synonyms in English and become a better writer using three methods and 10 free tools.
“The future belongs to the best editors.”– Jason Fried, author of the book Rework
Good writing is about editing.
Editing texts and using the right tools is valuable for academic and professional writing.
Read more: 16 Great Writing Tools
Why do we need to use synonyms?
When we read a text that uses ‘but’ again and again, it becomes boring.
How can you write more precisely and effectively in English?
Your texts become more interesting and vivid if you use a variety of words.
Luckily, the English language has many words to choose from.
Synonyms are alternative words with similar meanings.
Today, we can find synonyms for any word with the click of a button.
Read more: English Words To Say ‘Important’ In Business
Find Synonyms in English: Tools to Find Words with Similar Meanings
Here are ten of my favorite language tools to find synonyms in English:
1. Online Thesaurus to Find Synonyms in English
What is a Thesaurus?
The word thesaurus comes from ancient Greek and means treasure. A thesaurus is a network of words with similar meanings.
We use a thesaurus to find synonyms (words with similar meanings) or antonyms (words with the opposite meaning).
The online Thesaurus helps you find synonyms by listing words with similar meanings.
Read more: Business English Vocabulary – ‘feature’
This amazing tool makes visual maps around the meaning of words. It is fascinating and so practical to see how word meanings are related.
The Learner’s Dictionary is my favorite online English dictionary. You can find out how to say words correctly, what they mean, or you can read examples. Its special category for business words is useful if you want to learn words in a business context.
Read more: Words you can say instead of ‘but’
The Oxford dictionary also has an option to find synonyms. I like that it gives you example sentences as well as formal and informal alternatives.
If you are looking for another online thesaurus, this is a brilliantly simple tool for you. For each word, the website gives you a list of synonyms and tells you how closely related the meanings are.
This tool is also available as an app for iPhone and Android.
If you are looking for words that are used in business, this Thesaurus is a nice tool. It only shows you synonyms as a list without any further information about the words, so it is useful if you need to look up synonyms quickly at work.
Merriam Webster Thesaurus
This online tool is a practical tool to find alternative words in English. It is a detailed tool that categorizes alternative words based on meaning. You can get more information about the words and phrases as well as example sentences instead of only a list of words.
2. Collocation Dictionary to Find Synonyms in English
How are words used in real life? Example sentences and collocations (groupings of words in a sentence) help you learn new words. Collocation dictionaries help you find common word combinations.
This tool is especially useful for writing at work. One of my favorite features is that you can see how synonyms are used in context in real texts. You can also compare two synonyms and see which one fits better in context.
Some words go together naturally.
If you want to find an alternative word for ‘bad’, a serious problem sounds better than a poor problem.
How do you know which words go well together? Collocations!
A collocation dictionary shows you words in context.
If you use common word combinations (collocations), you will sound more natural in English.
Thesaurus Example Checker
On the Thesaurus website, you can test which word you can use in your sentence to find the best fit. The example checker lets you test your synonyms in a real sentence.
3. A Proofreading Tool to Find Synonyms in English
Grammarly is a practical grammar-checking tool that helps you with your English writing and grammar. The tool edits all of your written work and checks for grammar and spelling mistakes.
Professionals worldwide use Grammarly to check their emails and other important documents.
Grammarly’s premium version even gives you suggestions to sound more precise. The tool marks words or phrases and suggests a more precise word you can use instead. As a result, your writing sounds more natural, fluent, and interesting.
For me, it’s the most useful tool I use in English and in business.
Find out more about Grammarly’s features
Conclusion: Find Synonyms in English
When we write in English, we sometimes need to find synonyms (words with similar meanings) to sound more precise and interesting.
You can find English words with similar meanings by using various tools: a thesaurus, a collocation dictionary, and a proofreading tool.
Read more: What to Say Instead of “Interesting” – 15 Appealing Alternatives
An online thesaurus gives you lists or maps of words with similar meanings. Collocation dictionaries show you which words are often used together in example texts, so you can choose the best alternative. A proofreading tool automatically suggests a synonym when you are writing your text.