One practice.Let’s change the sentences below with

One word substitution is the process of using one word for a phrase. This lesson provides the full definition and some practice problems to help get an idea how to solve these problems.

One Word Substitution

One word substitution is a process in which people use one word to replace a wordy phrase, to make the sentence structure more clear. This also makes work more succinct, instead of convoluted.

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For example, if you have a sentence that states ‘He drives me in a vehicle around town.’ instead you can use ‘He chauffeurs me around town.’ The meaning is identical, yet the sentence is shorter. This adds a complexity to writing, while still making sure the writing is concise.

How to Find One Word Substitutions

If you are not used to having to substitute your phrases, it can be challenging to figure out where to search for these replacements.

A thesaurus can be a simple way to find these substitution words, especially when you do not have web access. There are actually websites available for one word substitutions, such as There are also other ways to find these words.

Examples of One Word Substitution Regular Words

The following problems will have the wordy phrase with its one word substitution next to it. There are some cases where there could be more than one word that could be used as a substitution, and these are shown as well. There are many other phrases, but these are several that are used frequently.

  • To fall apart over time – Disintegrate
  • A copy of something that is identical – Facsimile
  • Old age that results in odd and unique behaviors – Senility
  • A smart and educated individual – Intellectual
  • Someone who is driven by passion to do crazy things – Zealot
  • Things to be done throughout the day – Schedule
  • To leave somewhere that is treacherous – Escape
  • A person who pushes an idea or belief system they do not believe – Hypocrite
  • Someone who sees everything negatively – Cynic
  • Something that is not understandable – Incomprehensible
  • A person who is talented in many different facets of life – Versatile
  • A movie or play held during the daytime – Matinee
  • Timeframe between kids hitting puberty and being an adult – Adolescence
  • A person that is unknown – Anonymous
  • Someone that you work with – Colleague

Examples of Rarer One Word Substitutions

There are also one word substitutions that are rarer, but also useful in writing in academics.

  • A government that is only ruled by a few people – Oligarchy
  • An animal or person who eats all different foods, vegetables, meats, fruits – Omnivore
  • Someone who is new at being involved in an activity or group – Neophyte
  • Something that allows light to move through it – Translucent
  • A person who refuses to drink alcohol – Teetotaler
  • Something that is confusing because it has several meanings – Ambiguous
  • A document or thing that cannot be read – Illegible
  • Every weapon that a country or place has as a whole – Arsenal
  • Something that babies have from birth, but may not be passed down by the parents – Congenital

Examples of Problems

Now that you have an idea of one word substitutions, the following problems will give you an idea of what you will see in exams, so you can practice.Let’s change the sentences below with one word substitutions:

  1. He committed an act of violating the church. He committed an act of blasphemy.
  2. Anne Rice used another name when she wrote her first novels.

    Anne Rice used a pseudonym when she wrote her first novels.

  3. I live with many people of my same age. I live with my contemporaries.
  4. My university is full of students from all different walks of life. My university is cosmopolitan.
  5. My friends like a government that is governed by the people. My friends like democracy.

  6. My hometown lacked any sense of order or law. There was anarchy in my hometown.
  7. This book was published after the author had passed away. This book was published posthumously.

  8. The disease broke out everywhere and was uncontrollable. The disease was an epidemic.
  9. My friend Jerry does not believe in God. My friend Jerry is an atheist.
  10. Our family has been fighting through the years and generations of people. Our family is in a feud.

Lesson Summary

One word substitution is a way to replace a wordy phrase with one word to make it more succinct.

This creates clarity in writing and allows for more to be written in a shorter space. To find one word substitutions you can use a thesaurus or look them up online and find words to use as a replacement. The key is knowing when you need them.


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