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.)
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."