Confused Words Exercise (488)

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 _________ behavior included wearing a toilet seat around her neck and singing instead of speaking.

  • He made ________ inquiries as to Smith’s whereabouts on the night in question.

  • The __________ theory of the time seems absurd in retrospect.

  • I must say that he has an impressively ________ appetite.

  • She seems to have a _____ for garnering the wrong kind of attention.

Answers and Explanations

1. Her aberrant behavior included wearing a toilet seat around her neck and singing instead of speaking.

aberrant: atypical or abnormal. "The aberrant weather was unsettling."
abhorrent: repulsive. "Joe’s abhorrent comments were roundly condemned."

2. He made discreet inquiries as to Smith’s whereabouts on the night in question.

discreet: subtle. "Jones made a discreet gesture, but she failed to notice, so he cleared his throat to get her attention."
discrete: separate. "I instructed her to make discrete entries on each chart."

3. The predominant theory of the time seems absurd in retrospect.

predominate (verb): prevail or have advantage over: "Earth tones tend to predominate in his paintings from this period."
predominant (adjective): more important or frequent. "The predominant factor in the decision was the financial risk."

4. I must say that he has an impressively voracious appetite.

veracious: honest, accurate. "His veracious account of the incident was at odds with her attempt to cover up her role."
voracious: extreme in appetite or eagerness. "She voraciously sought out the latest fashions, desperate to stay ahead of mainstream trends."

5. She seems to have a flair for garnering the wrong kind of attention.

flair (noun): aptitude, appeal. "A colorful scarf adds a bit of flair to an otherwise understated outfit."
flare: a brief, bright light (noun), or sudden anger (verb). "I was concerned that her resentment would flare up again."

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