(Opposite) – “The Perfect Couple”

“The Perfect Couple” – Opposite exercise

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In the "Opposite" exercise, we change part or all of the text to an opposite meaning (using antonyms).
We construct a new text that reflects the original, yet still makes sense to some degree.
The text comes from real-world examples in books, articles, websites etc.


“Convincing someone to change their mind is really the process of convincing them to change their tribe. If they abandon their beliefs, they run the risk of losing social ties.”

Reversing some of the words and phrases could result in this example:
"Accepting people when they don’t change their opinion is really a process of accepting that they don’t want to change their tribe. If they keep their beliefs, there’s little risk of losing social ties."

Or it might result in this example:
"Discouraging someone from holding onto their opinion is really a process of discouraging them from staying with their tribe. If they keep a hold of their current beliefs, there’s a strong chance they will keep their social ties."

You may notice how certain words have an opposite meaning, but the overall meaning has remained very close to the original.

Opposite words, meanings and phrases include: 'convincing/accepting/discouraging people', 'change/don't change/hold onto', 'abandon/keep/keep hold', 'run the risk of losing/little risk of losing/strong chance they will keep'.

You can submit your work to the comments section just below (click on a speech bubble). The teacher chooses certain pieces to correct, re-write or make comments. Students can too.

Click on the numbers to quickly go to excerpts 1, 2 or 3.
Go to Excerpt

Excerpt 1
It was the silence I noticed first. When Danny was around there was always noise, singing or humming, the tap-tapping of a lap-top keyboard, the prolonged clatter of spoon against ceramic mug as he stirred his black coffee vigorously for far too long, in my view, for a man who didn't even take sugar in it - what was he stirring?

Excerpt 1:
It was the din I missed first. When Danny was around there was always absolute silence, no singing or humming, not even the tap-tapping of a lap-top keyboard. Not so much as a clatter of a spoon against a ceramic mug as he stirred his white coffee so very gently and quickly - just a couple of times - which, in my view, isn’t enough when there is sugar in it. Why didn’t he stir more?

Your turn to try!
Please rewrite excerpt 1x

You can write your own example, if you would like. Just click on the "Speech Bubble" button above. A reply box will open up for you to enter your response.
You'll find all student work and responses for this lesson in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
Student work builds a better lesson.

Excerpt 2
No sign of any fresh food. He hadn't even gone shopping? What was going on? Had something happened at work, delaying him? He'd told me he'd be finishing at lunchtime that day, for once, that he'd have plenty of time to do the supermarket run for a change, save me doing it on Saturday morning as I usually did, while he stayed at home to run the vacuum round and flick a duster over the shelves.

Excerpt 2:
Stock full of fresh food. He’d finally gone shopping! Completely explainable. Zero occurrences at work meant that he'd finished at lunchtime that day, as per usual, giving him the slightest sliver of time to do the supermarket run for as always – I never did it myself. On Saturday mornings, I stayed at home and did the hoovering and dusting.

Please write your example.
Please rewrite excerpt 2x

Click on the "Speech Bubble" button. Your contributions are appreciated.

Excerpt 3
'Holy cow. It's like looking at brothers. Coincidence, or not? What do you make of that, guy?' Detective Sergeant Devon Clarke glanced over his shoulder. Behind him, Detective Chief Inspector Helena Dickens nodded slowly, indigo eyes fixed on the two photos on the board. 'I dunno. Not yet, anyway. But yes, they do look spookily similar. Weird, eh?'

Excerpt 3:
'Yeah. They look completely different, don’t they? Already made an assessment, serge?' Detective Sergeant Devon Clarke didn’t even look up from his papers. In front of him, Detective Chief Inspector Helena Dickens rapidly shook her head, soft green eyes refusing to focus on the two photos on the board. 'I’m convinced already. They couldn’t look more dissimilar if they tried. Most normal thing in the world, wouldn’t you say?'

Please share your work.
Please rewrite excerpt 3x

Click on the "Speech Bubble" button. We would love your assistance.

When students have submitted work, the teacher will choose examples to show here along with corrections and suggestions.

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