Confused Words Exercise (225)

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.)

  • Having intended to visit him in the hospital while he was ill does not _____ the fact that you didn’t.

  • When it came time for him to announce the winner, we could tell that everyone in the audience was listening with _____ breath.

  • Her husband complained about everything from the way she folded the towels to the way she made the bed; I could not have _____ it.

  • When Dorothea looked through the jewelry box, she was especially taken by the beauty of a cameo _____.

  • Mr. Baxter, who is running for reelection, has asked me to help _____ the neighborhood.

Answers and Explanations

1. Having intended to visit him in the hospital while he was ill does not alter the fact that you didn’t.

alter: verb, "to change"
altar: noun, "a sacred table in a place of worship"

2. When it came time for him to announce the winner, we could tell that everyone in the audience was listening with bated breath.

bated: past participle used as an adjective, used now only in the expression "bated breath"; the expression means "in great suspense."
baited: past tense or past participle of the verb "to bait," meaning, "to place something to attract prey."

3. Her husband complained about everything from the way she folded the towels to the way she made the bed; I could not have borne it.

born: adjective, "to be brought forth into the world"
borne: past tense verb. Literal meaning:"carried"; figurative meaning, "endured."

4. When Dorothea looked through the jewelry box, she was especially taken by the beauty of a cameo brooch.

broach: verb, "to raise a subject for discussion"
brooch: noun, "a piece of jewelry."

5. Mr. Baxter, who is running for reelection, has asked me to help canvass the neighborhood.

canvas: noun, "a type of strong cloth"
canvass: verb, "to seek people’s votes"

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