Confused Words Exercise (320)

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.)

  • Everyone I know hopes that our country may soon have _____ relations with Iraq.

  • Everyone at the dinner became ill because the pork had been _____ cooked.

  • George has the _____ to become a superb chess player.

  • The name of the narrator in Moby Dick is a/an _____ to the story of the Hagar and Ishmael in the Old Testament.

  • Sometimes the most publicly honored people are in their private lives the most _______.

Answers and Explanations

1. Everyone I know hopes that our country may soon have peaceable relations with Iraq.

Peaceable means an inclination to avoid strife or warfare. Peaceful means serene or calm.

2. Everyone at the dinner became ill because the pork had been partially cooked.

Both adverbs convey the idea of "in part," or "to some extent." Partially has the additional sense of "incompletely."

3. George has the capability to become a superb chess player.

Capability refers to power or ability. The literal use of capacity is to refer to a container’s ability to hold something, for example, "the capacity of a gas tank."

4. The name of the narrator in Moby Dick is a/an allusion to the story of the Hagar and Ishmael in the Old Testament.

An allusion is an indirect or casual mention or suggestion of something. A reference is a formal mention of something, with supporting evidence.

5. Sometimes the most publicly honored people are in their private lives the most contemptible.

The adjective contemptuous conveys the idea that contempt is directed toward someone or something, whereas contemptible attaches the contempt to the person or thing.

Related Articles

Subscribe to our articles and exercises