Quiz On 20 Commonly Confused Words

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Quizzes Created: 1 | Total Attempts: 438
Questions: 20 | Attempts: 438

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Commonly Confused Word Quizzes & Trivia

Source: grammar. About. Com


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    A recent study found that many air fresheners are high in chemicals that have been linked to _____ health effects in high doses.

    • A.

      Adverse

    • B.

      Averse

    Correct Answer
    A. Adverse
    Explanation
    The adjective adverse means harmful, unfavorable, or antagonistic. Often it refers to conditions or things rather than people.
    The adjective averse means having a feeling of opposition, distaste, or repugnance. As Kenneth Wilson points out in the usage notes below, we're most often "averse to (rarely from) things and people we dislike."
    Examples:
    It is the adverse effect of television viewing on the lives of so many people that makes it feel like a serious addiction.
    We have become a risk-averse culture in which our anxieties dictate our decisions in a totally disproportionate way.

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  • 2. 

    The young hockey star was dubbed "the phantom" for his ability to _____ defenders.

    • A.

      Allude

    • B.

      Elude

    Correct Answer
    B. Elude
    Explanation
    To allude to something means to make an indirect reference.
    To elude means to evade or to escape understanding or attention.
    Examples:
    Some passages in the New Testament allude to incidents and prophecies in the Old Testament.
    The meaning of this particular passage eludes me.

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  • 3. 

    The malty flavor of buckwheat honey makes it a nice _____ to blue cheese.

    • A.

      Complement

    • B.

      Compliment

    Correct Answer
    A. Complement
    Explanation
    Complement means "something that completes or brings to perfection."
    A compliment is an expression of praise.
    Examples:
    Mark said that men and women have strengths that complement each other.
    Marie did not take his remark as a compliment.

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  • 4. 

    Amazon unveiled the Kindle, its digital-book reading _____, at the end of 2007.

    • A.

      Devise

    • B.

      Device

    Correct Answer
    B. Device
    Explanation
    The noun device means a gadget, scheme, or procedure.
    The verb devise means to plan, conceive, or invent.
    Examples:
    The computer can be a clever device for avoiding thought.
    We need to devise new solutions to old problems.

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  • 5. 

    The genes, _____ bits of DNA on the chromosomes in each cell, control all body activities by directing the production of essential chemicals.

    • A.

      Discreet

    • B.

      Discrete

    Correct Answer
    B. Discrete
    Explanation
    The adjective discreet means prudently self-restrained or tactful.
    The adjective discrete means distinct or separate.
    Examples:
    Invisible hearing aids are becoming an increasingly popular choice for those who want to be discreet about their hearing loss.
    The average person can hold seven discrete bits of information in his or her head at a time.

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  • 6. 

    When his ship _____ on the coast of Scotland in 1883, the Danish captain thought he saw a seven-pointed star in the sky.

    • A.

      Floundered

    • B.

      Foundered

    Correct Answer
    B. Foundered
    Explanation
    The noun flounder refers to a small flatfish. The verb flounder means to struggle, to make clumsy efforts to move or regain one's balance.
    The noun founder refers to a person who establishes an institution or settlement. The verb founder means to sink or become disabled.
    Examples:
    Many people flounder about in life because they do not have a purpose, an objective toward which to work.
    The Turkish man-of-war Ertogrul foundered at sea and 500 members of her crew were drowned.

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  • 7. 

    In 1958, a Spanish photographer accompanied Fidel Castro and his band of revolutionaries during their ____ push to Havana.In 1958, a Spanish photographer accompanied Fidel Castro and his band of revolutionaries during their ____ push to Havana.

    • A.

      Historic

    • B.

      Historical

    Correct Answer
    A. Historic
    Explanation
    Historic means "important," "momentous," or "historically significant."
    Historical means "relating to the past."
    Examples:
    America has entered one of its periods of historic madness, but this is the worst I can remember.
    The Sixties are now considered a historical period, just like the Roman Empire.

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  • 8. 

    The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not _____ that all who are laughed at are geniuses.

    • A.

      Imply

    • B.

      Infer

    Correct Answer
    A. Imply
    Explanation
    Put simply, a writer or speaker implies (or suggests) something; a reader or listener infers (or deduces).
    Examples:
    The manager implied that I was a bad risk. I inferred from her remarks that she thought I was lazy.

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  • 9. 

    All births are _____ moments, but some are more momentous than others.

    • A.

      Incredible

    • B.

      Incredulous

    Correct Answer
    A. Incredible
    Explanation
    The adjective incredible means unbelievable or hard to believe. Incredible often applies to statements, actions, or events.
    The adjective incredulous means skeptical or expressive of disbelief. Incredulous applies to people and their attitudes.
    Examples
    All men are prepared to accomplish the incredible if their ideals are threatened.
    It may not be amiss to add, for the benefit of incredulous readers, that all the 'improbable events' in the story are matters of fact, taken from the printed narrative.

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  • 10. 

    Facebook has about 300 million users and Twitter a tenth of that number, but the _____ has been winning the headline battle in recent months.

    • A.

      Later

    • B.

      Latter

    Correct Answer
    B. Latter
    Explanation
    Use later when referring to time. Use latter when referring to the second of two persons or things mentioned previously.
    Examples:
    Though Amy said that she would join me later, I never saw her again.
    There are two kinds of worries: those you can do something about and those you can't. Don't spend any time on the latter.

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  • 11. 

    Night after night, the president _____ over memos arguing for and against the choice that confronted him. 

    • A.

      Pored

    • B.

      Poured

    Correct Answer
    A. Pored
    Explanation
    As a noun, pore means a small opening, especially in an animal or plant. The verb pore means to read or study carefully.
    The verb pour means to dispense a drink or other substance.
    Examples:
    The carbon dioxide storage method injects the gas into the microscopic pores of reservoir sediments 800 meters underground.
    Merdine pored over the rules, searching for a loophole.
    Happiness is a perfume which you cannot pour on someone without getting some on yourself.

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  • 12. 

    A higher salary was Sol's _____ reason for accepting the job offer.

    • A.

      Principal

    • B.

      Principle

    Correct Answer
    A. Principal
    Explanation
    As a noun, principal commonly means "administrator" or "sum of money." As an adjective, principal means "most important."
    The noun principle means "basic truth" or "rule."
    Examples:
    Last summer, Edward DeMarco, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's regulator, scuppered the White House's plan to write down principal for half a million homeowners who'd fallen behind on payments, listing among his reasons that it would encourage others to stop paying. It was an argument of principle over principal: DeMarco's own analysis showed that the White House plan could save $3.6 billion.
    Ms. Benson said that boredom was her principal reason for retiring.
    According to the Peter Principle, a worker will rise to his or her level of incompetence.

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  • 13. 

    He _____ his brains to remember, but he could not call to mind a single thing!

    • A.

      Racked

    • B.

      Wracked

    Correct Answer
    A. Racked
    Explanation
    As a verb, rack means to torture or cause great suffering. The verb wrack means to wreck or cause the ruin of something.
    Examples:
    I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.
    Lud had been going to wrack and ruin for centuries.

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  • 14. 

    The beauty of Moroccan palaces is made up of details of ornament and refinements of _____ delight too numerous to record.

    • A.

      Sensual

    • B.

      Sensuous

    Correct Answer
    B. Sensuous
    Explanation
    The adjective sensual means affecting or gratifying the physical senses. Sensuous means pleasing to the senses, especially those involved in aesthetic pleasure, as of art or music. But as explained in the usage notes below, this fine distinction is often overlooked.
    Examples:
    If one wants another only for some self-satisfaction, usually in the form of sensual pleasure, that wrong desire takes the form of lust rather than love.
    Her first book of poems included several close, sensuous descriptions of flowers.

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  • 15. 

    "English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment, and education--sometimes it's _____ luck, like getting across a street." (E.B. White)

    • A.

      Shear

    • B.

      Sheer

    Correct Answer
    B. Sheer
    Explanation
    The adjective sheer means fine, transparent, or complete. As an adverb, sheer means completely or altogether.
    Examples:
    Jerry wore a sheer linen shirt with frilly lace cuffs.
    "English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education--sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street." (E.B. White)

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  • 16. 

    Much of what we thought we knew about the evolution of dinosaurs turns out to be _____ or out-and-out wrong.

    • A.

      Simple

    • B.

      Simplistic

    Correct Answer
    B. Simplistic
    Explanation
    The adjective simple means plain, ordinary, uncomplicated. The adjective simplistic is a pejorative word meaning overly simplified--characterized by extreme and often misleading simplicity.
    Examples:
    "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." (Albert Einstein)
    "Pupils are being set simplistic science exam questions when they have been taught to a much higher level, scientists claimed today."

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  • 17. 

    The train passengers spent the night in the makeshift hotels of ____ carriages parked on railway sidings.

    • A.

      Stationary

    • B.

      Stationery

    Correct Answer
    A. Stationary
    Explanation
    The adjective stationary means motionless or remaining in one place.
    The noun stationery refers to writing materials.
    Examples:
    "The law is stationary. The law is fixed. The law is a chariot wheel which binds us all regardless of conditions or place or time."
    In his suitcase I found a hodgepodge of hotel stationery, postcards, and transit maps.

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  • 18. 

    Jay-Z always sounds bold and confident, but then of course _____ is rarely a character trait in the world of hip-hop.

    • A.

      Temerity

    • B.

      Timidity

    Correct Answer
    B. Timidity
    Explanation
    The noun temerity means daring or recklessness. In contrast, the noun timidity means fearfulness.
    Examples:
    A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves obscure men whose timidity prevented them from making a first effort.
    Harry Truman had the temerity to tell General MacArthur to shut up.

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  • 19. 

    Be it a Jeep Cherokee or a Ford Explorer or supersized to a Humvee, the SUV soon became the _____ and luxurious symbol of boomer excess throughout the 1990s.

    • A.

      Veracious

    • B.

      Voracious

    Correct Answer
    B. Voracious
    Explanation
    The adjective veracious means honest, truthful, or accurate.
    The adjective vociferous means loud, noisy, or vehement.
    The adjective voracious means insatiable, excessively eager, or extremely hungry.
    Examples:
    "Her description of the dirtiness and squalor of the slave huts is undoubtedly veracious. They had almost no furniture, their beds being mere wooden frames with a bark covering; they abounded with fleas and other vermin."
    "The Denver school board removed the film from the curriculum only to reinstate it after vociferous protest from community members."
    "Whether or not you are a reader of adult books, you should, as a teacher of reading, be a voracious reader of children's books."

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  • 20. 

    "_____ the gods wish to destroy they first call promising." (Cyril Connolly)

    • A.

      Who

    • B.

      Whom

    Correct Answer
    B. Whom
    Explanation
    Use who when a sentence requires a subject pronoun (equivalent to he or she).
    In formal English, use whom when a sentence requires an object pronoun (equivalent to him or her).
    Example
    "Mrs. Branthwaite inhabited the house on the corner. She was a known witch whom we often persecuted after dark by throwing gravel on her roof."

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  • Current Version
  • Mar 21, 2023
    Quiz Edited by
    ProProfs Editorial Team
  • Nov 09, 2014
    Quiz Created by
    Owlishschool
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