for me to describe them as "love"," — so that like and love are in a way opposed to each other.
The duality of synonyms is, probably, their most confusing feature: they are somewhat the same, and yet they are most obviously different. Both aspects of their dual characteristics are essential for them to perform their function in speech: revealing different aspects, shades and variations of the same phenomenon.
"— Was she a pretty girl?
— I would certainly have called her attractive."
The second speaker in this short dialogue does his best to choose the word which would describe the girl most precisely: she was good-looking, but pretty is probably too good a word for her, so that attractive is again in a way opposed to pretty (not pretty, only attractive), but this opposition is, at the same time, firmly fixed on the sameness of pretty and attractive: essentially they both describe a pleasant appearance.
Here are some more extracts which confirm that synonyms add precision to each detail of description and show how the correct choice of a word from a group of synonyms may colour the whole text.
The first extract depicts a domestic quarrel. The infuriated husband shouts and glares at his wife, but "his glare suddenly softened into a gaze as he turned his eyes on the little girl" (i. e. he had been looking furiously at his wife, but when he turned his eyes on the child, he looked at her with tenderness).
The second extract depicts a young father taking his child for a Sunday walk.
"Neighbours were apt to smile at the long-legged bare-headed young man leisurely strolling along the