Confused Words Exercise (332)
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.)
Answers and Explanations
1. The doctoral candidate pored over ancient tomes in the special collections section of the library.
pour (verb): to flow or cause to flow.
pore (noun): a tiny opening; (verb): to study something closely.
2. The region’s cereal crops include wheat, oats, and rye.
cereal (noun): a grass producing an edible grain. The word cereal is also used with the meaning, "a breakfast food made from grains."
serial (adjective): happening in a series.
3. It’s strange to watch Hugh Laurie, currently known for playing the irascible Dr. House, portraying the complaisant Bertie Wooster in the "Jeeves and Wooster" episodes from the 1990s.
complacent (adjective): smug and self-satisfied.
complaisant (adjective): willing to please.
4. One of the jobs of the Secretary of State is to endeavor to defuse volatile confrontations between nations.
defuse (verb): to make a situation less tense.
diffuse (verb): to spread over a wide area.
5. As late at the 1860s, it was not uncommon to hear of one man challenging another to a duel.
duel (noun): a fight between two combatants, usually with swords or pistols. The word can also be used as a verb.
dual (adjective): consisting of two parts. For example, the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is about one man’s dual personality.