Confused Words Exercise (260)

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.)

  • At first they thought Judge Wilcox was ________ in the outcome of the case, but later they learned that he wanted a verdict of "Not guilty."

  • Needing a witness, Captain Stottlemeyer sent uniformed officers to _______ the neighborhood.

  • I can _______ from his letter that he is not too happy with our service.

  • On their way to the next town, the sightseers ________ a rustic stone church.

  • It’s time to order a supply of ________ Mantis eggs for the garden.

Answers and Explanations

1. At first they thought Judge Wilcox was disinterested in the outcome of the case, but later they learned that he wanted a verdict of "Not guilty."

The adjective disinterested means neutral or impartial. The adjective uninterested means lack of interest.

2. Needing a witness, Captain Stottlemeyer sent uniformed officers to canvass the neighborhood.

Canvass means to gather opinion or information. The verb canvass occurs frequently in connection with political campaigns; candidates or their supporters go from door to door to solicit votes.

3. I can infer from his letter that he is not too happy with our service.

The verb infer means "to draw information out of something"; imply means "to hint at something." The noun for infer is inference; the noun for imply is implication.

4. On their way to the next town, the sightseers passed a rustic stone church.

Passed is the past tense of the verb to pass; past can function as an adjective or as a preposition: Under hypnosis she revealed a past life (adjective). The city hall is just past those traffic lights (preposition).

5. It’s time to order a supply of Praying Mantis eggs for the garden.

The insect called the Praying Mantis gets its name from the posture of its front legs, which seem to be held in an attitude of prayer. It uses those legs to seize its prey, (i.e., another insect that it intends to devour.)

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