Confused Words Exercise (386)

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.)

  • In order to understand the machine’s purpose, he broke it down into its _____ parts.

  • The worst part was when the royal forces left their injured comrades  ____ in the plains.

  • In the 20th century, three Roosevelts ____ their fellow Americans through difficult historical times.

  • Although now referred to in many companies as "Human Resources," the traditional term for the department that handles hiring is "______ Services."

  • When we asked him to explain the _____ behind his brutal treatment of the local population, he was at a loss to answer.

Answers and Explanations

1. In order to understand the machine’s purpose, he broke it down into its discrete parts.

discreet (adjective): displaying sound judgment.
discrete (adjective): separate; detached from others; individually distinct.

2. The worst part was when the royal forces left their injured comrades  dying in the plains.

dying (present participle of "to die"): at the point of death.
dyeing (present participle of "to dye"): impregnating with color.

3. In the 20th century, three Roosevelts led their fellow Americans through difficult historical times.

lead (verb, rhymes with reed): to bring or take a person to a place.
led (verb, rhymes with bread): past tense of the verb "to lead."

4. Although now referred to in many companies as "Human Resources," the traditional term for the department that handles hiring is "Personnel Services."

personal (adjective): affecting a person as a private individual.
personnel (noun): the body of people employed by an organization or engaged in some undertaking.

5. When we asked him to explain the rationale behind his brutal treatment of the local population, he was at a loss to answer.

rationale (noun): an explanation of reasons.
rational (adjective): endowed with reason.

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