Confused Words Exercise (415)

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.)

  • They faced the same challenge: an entrenched voting _____.

  • The mountaineers lowered a rope into the ______ and retrieved their companion.

  • The marshy area presented a ______ for the highway planners.

  • The topics ran the ______ from free markets to fair trade.

  • I was asked to deliver the ______ at his memorial service.

Answers and Explanations

1. They faced the same challenge: an entrenched voting bloc.

bloc (noun): an alliance of people, groups, or countries: "The satellite countries of the Soviet Union were known collectively as the Soviet bloc."
block (noun): a large, solid piece of some material, a regular period of time, or a geographical area bounded by streets. "She drove around the block a few times to delay her arrival."

2. The mountaineers lowered a rope into the crevasse and retrieved their companion.

crevasse (noun): a large fissure in the ground or in ice: "The crevasse in the ice had widened so far that they could not jump back across."
crevice (noun): a narrow crack: "He tried to retrieve the coin from the crevice, but his fingers were too large to fit."

3. The marshy area presented a difficulty for the highway planners.

difficulty (noun): "I hadn’t realized that the difficulty of the problem would overwhelm her."
dilemma (noun) a problem with no satisfactory solution: "His dilemma was that he would be arrested if he told the truth, but his blackmailer would bankrupt him if he kept up the lie."

4. The topics ran the gamut from free markets to fair trade.

gamut (noun): a range: "The story represents nothing less than the entire gamut of human existence in one book."
gauntlet (noun, also "gantlet") a glove, or an ordeal involving physically passing through an unpleasant experience: "The actress ran the gauntlet of paparazzi to reach the waiting limousine."

5. I was asked to deliver the eulogy at his memorial service.

eulogy (noun): a statement of praise for a deceased person: "The eulogy covered the usual highlights of the late senator’s career."
elegy (noun): a sorrowful composition, usually for a person or a personification that is literally or figuratively dead: "She wrote a fitting elegy for her deceased mother in the form of a series of haikus."

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