Words and Shades of Meaning

Contributor: Stefani Allegretti. Lesson ID: 13925

Did you know that words have different shades of meaning, just like colors have different shades? It's true! In this lesson, you'll explore words with different shades of meaning.


Comprehension, Grammar

English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Take a look at the hot pink color and the light pink color below. The hot pink color is bold and really stands out! It is almost like it is shouting at you!

pink shades

The light pink color, however, is soft. It is more calming to look at.

Both colors are still pink, yet they are different. They make us feel differently when we see them too.

It is the same with words! Words can have different shades of meaning. Some can be bold and big, and others can be softer and smaller. Let's learn more!

Look at the adjectives large and gigantic in the sentences below. Remember, adjectives are words that describe nouns.


  • Both words are describing the dinosaur, but which one is bolder and tells us that the dinosaur is very, very big in size?

If you are thinking gigantic, great work! The word gigantic still means large, but it is more than large. It is very, very large. It is gigantic!

Let's try another one. This time, look at words that tell us about feelings.


These words all say that we are feeling good.

  • Yet, if you are fantastic, you are feeling better than just good, right?

Yes! So, all these words have different levels of strength or intensity. Some describe stronger feelings than others, even though they all mean someone is doing well or good.

Now, take a look at some different verbs. Remember, verbs are doing words.


cat and mouse

Both words, peeked and stared, tell us that the little mouse is looking at the cat, but they mean slightly different things.

Peeking means to look very quickly. Staring means to look for a longer time and to look at someone or something right in the eyes.

This is another example of words having shades of meaning. Good work!

Review as you watch shades of meaning from First Grade Team:

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There are many words that have slightly different meanings.

Move on to the Got It? section and practice what we've learned!

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