Confused Words Exercise (482)

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.)

  • Her expression was deceptively _______.

  • John’s _______ condition caused her to have second thoughts about confronting him.

  • John remembered the official’s _______ attitude when he read that the man had been accused of taking bribes.

  • My daughter’s _________ comment charmed the audience.

  • The team’s _________ performance earned the members an award.

Answers and Explanations

1. Her expression was deceptively demure.

demur: to politely disagree or refuse. "He decided to demur when asked to name names."
demure: modest, polite. "The young woman adopted a demure attitude."

2. John’s piteous condition caused her to have second thoughts about confronting him.

piteous: arousing compassion. "She uttered a piteous cry when she saw the dead animal."
pitiless: lacking compassion. "They glared at her with pitiless expressions."

3. John remembered the official’s venal attitude when he read that the man had been accused of taking bribes.

venal: corruptible. "He had a venal streak in him that made her uncomfortable."
venial: forgivable. "Telling a white lie is a venial sin."

4. My daughter’s ingenuous comment charmed the audience.

ingenious: very clever or smart: "Mary had had a talent for coming up with ingenious solutions since childhood."
ingenuous: innocently simple or candid. "Her ingenuous personality was a pleasant change from the sarcastic and cynical people he was used to being around."

5. The team’s expeditious performance earned the members an award.

expedient: opportune; easy to accomplish but not necessarily ethical. "Faced with a tight deadline, they were expedient, cutting corners and manipulating the data."
expeditious: quick and efficient. "We complimented him on his expeditious work on the project."

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