Confused Words Exercise (115)

In each sentence, choose the correct word from the pair of similar terms. (If both words possibly can be correct, choose the more plausible one.)

  • If we rise early enough, we can be ______ down the road by noon.

  • Is there anyone ______ me, who wants to volunteer for the flower committee?

  • If the committee meets _______ , they will only meet six times a year.

  • Are you able to ______ an authority for such an outlandish statement?

  • All six members who ______ the school board are parents.

Answers and Explanations

1. If we rise early enough, we can be farther down the road by noon.

Farther always refers to distance. Further may refer to distance, but is the only choice for the meaning "to a greater extent or degree." Example: The teacher will go further into the explanation in tomorrow’s lesson.

2. Is there anyone besides me, who wants to volunteer for the flower committee?

Besides means "in addition to." Beside means "next to." Example: Would you like to sit beside me?

3. If the committee meets bimonthly , they will only meet six times a year.

Bimonthly means "every other month." Semimonthly means "twice a month."

4. Are you able to cite an authority for such an outlandish statement?

Cite is a verb that has more than one meaning. In the context of this sentence, cite means "to quote an authority." As a verb, site means "to locate." Example: The factory will be sited within the industrial park. As a noun, site means "a place or location." Example: I’m sure you can find the information you want on a web site.

5. All six members who compose the school board are parents.

Compose means "to make up, to be the material of which something is assembled." Comprise means "to bring together, to include, to contain." This pair of words is often confused, because both share another definition, "to consist of." Use comprise when the "whole" of which you are speaking comes first. Use compose when the separate parts are mentioned first.

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