Confused Words Exercise (326)

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.)

  • I don’t trust him; I certainly don’t want to help him _____ his plans.

  • We watched the balloon ____ in the air.

  • Here’s the flower arrangement; _____ it on the counter for now.

  • If you don’t want to _____ your dog, have a microchip implanted.

  • I work so hard during the week, I just want to ___ around on the weekend.

Answers and Explanations

1. I don’t trust him; I certainly don’t want to help him further his plans.

Both farther and further may function as either an adjective or an adverb, but only further is standard when used as a verb.

2. We watched the balloon rise in the air.

Rise is intransitive; raise is transitive. Ex. "We watched the workmen raise the balloon to the platform."

3. Here’s the flower arrangement; set it on the counter for now.

Sit is intransitive: a person sits. Set is transitive: one sets (places) something somewhere.

4. If you don’t want to lose your dog, have a microchip implanted.

Lose is a verb. Loose may be used as a verb in the sense of "set free," but most commonly it occurs as an adjective: "Since I lost weight, these jeans are loose on me."

5. I work so hard during the week, I just want to lie around on the weekend.

Lay is transitive and should therefore have an object: "Lay the book on the table." Lie is intransitive; it does not take an object.

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