Confused Words Exercise (338)

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.)

  • Many of the comments one reads on social media reveal the ____ notion that playing pranks on people is an acceptable source of amusement.

  • We watched in horror as the _____ lava crept closer to our feet.

  • The union representative complained that management deliberately ______ members about health plan coverage.

  • The fact that few women rise to top positions of corporate leadership is another example of the _____ of hiring and promotion criteria.

  • The _____ 4,400-year-old statue of the Sumerian king Entemena of Lagash stolen from the National Museum of Iraq has been recovered.

Answers and Explanations

1. Many of the comments one reads on social media reveal the childish notion that playing pranks on people is an acceptable source of amusement.

Childish refers to immature behavior characteristic of a child, while childlike pertains to more positive qualities such as innocence and curiosity.

2. We watched in horror as the molten lava crept closer to our feet.

Melted is a general term that applies to substances that have been liquefied by heat: wax, and ice cream, for example. Something that has melted may return to a solid state in another form. Molten is usually applied to a substance like metal, glass, or rock that has been liquefied by heat and is in the state of liquefaction.

3. The union representative complained that management deliberately misinformed members about health plan coverage.

"To misinform" is to convey incorrect information. Someone who is misinformed has received erroneous information, whereas someone who is uninformed lacks information.

4. The fact that few women rise to top positions of corporate leadership is another example of the inequity of hiring and promotion criteria.

The word inequity applies to social unfairness; inequality applies to actual differences between people or things. The inequality of educational opportunities for children who live in different neighborhoods can be measured. Inequity is an abstract concept.

5. The invaluable 4,400-year-old statue of the Sumerian king Entemena of Lagash stolen from the National Museum of Iraq has been recovered.

Something valuable has commercial worth that can be expressed in monetary terms; something invaluable has value that, because of its quality or intangible importance, cannot be valued in terms of currency; it is beyond price.

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