Confused Words Exercise (397)

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.)

  • Can you tell me the most _____ way to feed a family of six on a limited budget?

  • They were observed while they were _______ a bus.

  • It is feared that an excess of online activity will result in youth who are _______ in face-to-face human relationships.

  • Children need a certain amount of freedom, but not free _____ in every area of their lives.

  • If you want to keep your job in this school, you’d better ___ the line.

Answers and Explanations

1. Can you tell me the most economical way to feed a family of six on a limited budget?

economic (adjective): relating to the science of economics or to financial matters and the economy. "Several regions are experiencing an economic downturn."
economical (adjective): having to do with saving money. "She feels that it is more economical to buy cereal in bags than in boxes."

2. They were observed while they were waiting for a bus.

waiting on: serving. For example, "The woman was waiting on three tables at once."
waiting for: anticipating the approach of something. For example, "They were waiting for Godot."

3. It is feared that an excess of online activity will result in youth who are uninterested in face-to-face human relationships.

uninterested (adjective): lacking interest. For example, "Millions of people are uninterested in the sport of football.
disinterested (adjective): personally uninvolved. For example, To be fair, a judge must be disinterested in the outcome of a trial.

4. Children need a certain amount of freedom, but not free rein in every area of their lives.

rein (noun): a strap attached to a bit, used to guide a horse. "Free rein" is a riding term that refers to allowing the horse freedom of movement.
reign: (noun): the period of time during which a monarch rules a country.

5. If you want to keep your job in this school, you’d better toe the line.

toe (verb): stand with the tip of the toe touching a line, as at the start of a race.
tow (verb): pull or drag along. Horses fitted with ropes are or have been used to tow boats along canals.

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