Confused Words Exercise (149)

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.)

  • We went to garage sales looking for _____.

  • If I tell you what the director told me, you must promise that you’ll be ______.

  • Many television characters these days behave ______; they show no concern with right or wrong.

  • When the dog rushed at her, the old woman fell face first onto the ______.

  • Ralphie aimed his Red Ryder rifle at the intruders ______ over and under the fence.

Answers and Explanations

1. We went to garage sales looking for collectibles.

The noun collectibles refers to things that are collected. The adjective collectable refers to the quality of a thing that makes a person want to collect it.

2. If I tell you what the director told me, you must promise that you’ll be discreet.

Discreet means "prudent" or "tactful." Discrete means separate, detached, or discontinuous.

3. Many television characters these days behave amorally; they show no concern with right or wrong.

A person who behaves immorally is aware of accepted moral standards, but does not follow them. Such a person may experience guilt. A person who behaves amorally does not think in terms of right or wrong.

4. When the dog rushed at her, the old woman fell face first onto the concrete.

Cement is an ingredient of concrete.

5. Ralphie aimed his Red Ryder rifle at the intruders clambering over and under the fence.

Clamoring is vocal noise: The children were clamoring for their supper. Clambering is a type of climbing that requires considerable effort and use of hands and feet.

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