Confused Words Exercise (314)

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.)

  • Observers hope that China and the United States can achieve a more ____ relationship than they have at present.

  • The word hovel _____ poverty and deprivation.

  • Her children’s ______ interruptions throughout the day made it difficult for her to concentrate.

  • What some people perceive as courtesy, others interpret as _______.

  • Many politicians are thought to ______ special interest groups, especially those that fund their campaigns.

Answers and Explanations

1. Observers hope that China and the United States can achieve a more amicable relationship than they have at present.

amiable: friendly, good-natured, and pleasant. This word is used to apply to people.
amicable: friendly and peaceable. This is the adjective used to describe agreements or relationships among people or governments.

2. The word hovel connotes poverty and deprivation.

connote: to imply or suggest.
denote: to mean. For example, "The word hovel denotes ‘a miserable dwelling.’"

3. Her children’s continual interruptions throughout the day made it difficult for her to concentrate.

continual: repeated with breaks between.
continuous: without stopping. For example, "The suspect was placed under continuous surveillance."

4. What some people perceive as courtesy, others interpret as obsequiousness.

obeisance: respect paid to someone in authority. For example, "Louis XIII had been raised in the belief that all subjects owed him obeisance."
obsequiousness: exaggerated eagerness to serve or please. For example, "Uriah Heep is the epitome of obsequiousness."

5. Many politicians are thought to pander to special interest groups, especially those that fund their campaigns.

pamper: to coddle or treat with indulgence. For example, "Many pet owners pamper their dogs in the mistaken notion that they have human feelings."
pander: to facilitate the desires of another. Usually used with "to." The verb derives from the proper noun Pander, the name of a sexual go-between (pimp) in Shakepeare’s play Troilus and Cressida.

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