Confused Words Exercise (350)

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.)

  • The successful candidate must be able to work ____ with other members of the staff.

  • Anyone who wishes to make a convincing argument must be able to ____ authoritative evidence.

  • The scholar worked fifteen years to produce a _____ edition of the writings of Isaac Asimov.

  • My third-grader _____ that because we have had a cool summer, we are going to have a cold winter.

  • A recent theory in quantum theory is that it is _____ that consciousness continues to exist after the physical body dies.

Answers and Explanations

1. The successful candidate must be able to work collaboratively with other members of the staff.

"To collaborate" means to cooperate on some undertaking. "To corroborate" something means to back up its reliability with proof or evidence.

2. Anyone who wishes to make a convincing argument must be able to cite authoritative evidence.

The verb cite comes from the noun citation. To cite is to refer to a source of information. The noun site means location: "We visited the site of a Bronze Age fort."

3. The scholar worked fifteen years to produce a compendious edition of the writings of Isaac Asimov.

Compendious means "concise, abridged." Voluminous, literally "occupying many volumes," most commonly means "vast" or "extremely lengthy."

4. My third-grader guesses that because we have had a cool summer, we are going to have a cold winter.

"To estimate" is to judge the extent, nature, or value of something, with the implication that the result is based on expertise. "To guess" is to believe or suppose, to form an opinion based on little or no evidence, or to be correct by chance or conjecture. 

5. A recent theory in quantum theory is that it is possible that consciousness continues to exist after the physical body dies.

Neither possible nor probable indicates certainty, but probable suggests a likelihood that is not present in possible.

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