Language tip of the week: change

Posted by on April 18, 2013

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc.

This week’s language tip includes common synonyms for the verb change:

alter: a more formal word for ‘change’
His election could alter the balance of power in the region.

adjust: to change something slightly so that it is exactly the way you want it
You adjust the volume using the remote control. ♦ Can you adjust the height of the seat?

adapt: to change something to deal with a specific situation
The recipes can be adapted for vegetarians. ♦ They need to adapt their military forces to the needs of the post-Cold War situation.

convert: to change something so that it can be used for a different purpose
We’re going to convert the spare room into a study.

modify: to make small changes, for example to a machine or system, in order to make something suitable for a different situation
The exhaust system has to be modified to meet new emission standards.

transform to change something completely so that it looks or works much better
Putting in a larger kitchen has completely transformed the house. ♦ new discoveries that could transform the way we treat cancer

vary: to make continuous or repeated changes to something
It’s important to vary your diet.

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