What is Semantics and why is it important?

A number of us may be familiar with the term ‘semantics’ when used in an idiomatic sense, i.e. ‘that’s just semantics’. This kind of statement is often used as a put-down when someone is trying to complicate an argument with a wordy explanation. However, in truth, semantics is a very important subject.

Semantics is the study of the meaning of words. Many words have very similar meanings and it is important to be able to distinguish subtle differences between them. For example, ‘anger’ and ‘rage’ are similar in meaning (synonyms) but ‘rage’ implies a stronger human reaction to a situation than ‘anger.’ It is also important for children to know the opposite meanings of words (antonyms). For example, ‘near’ and ‘far’ would be considered opposite in meaning. Words that have more than one meaning (homonyms) can also be confusing. For example, ‘watch’ could mean ‘observing’ (a verb) or could refer to a timepiece worn on the wrist (a noun).

AE Publications recently added the Semantics series of workbooks to our range of titles because it is important that children are able to make subtle distinctions between the meanings of words and their use in various contexts.

Working on understanding the meanings of words will help a child in their general day-to-day schooling and improve their reading, spelling and ability to understand and answer questions in English, Maths, Verbal Ability and Comprehension.

The three semantics workbooks are excellent preparation for 11+, 12+ and 13+ State Grammar entrance, SATs tests and Common Entrance and scholarship examinations for Independent Schools.

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