Confused Words Exercise (530)

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.)

  • The house’s ________ appeal is undermined by the presence of the utility substation next door.

  • At that concert, the band decided to ______ in its undisciplined approach to performing.

  • She walked into the bathroom and interrupted him before he started to ______.

  • This is the second time he has played a ______ role.

  • They are ________ about discussing their participation.

Answers and Explanations

1. The house’s aesthetic appeal is undermined by the presence of the utility substation next door.

aesthetic: of or relating to beauty. "The redesign is an aesthetic consideration as much as a commercial one."
ascetic: living an austere lifestyle. "The monastery’s inhabitants were devoted to an ascetic code of behavior."

2. At that concert, the band decided to rein in its undisciplined approach to performing.

reign: "When he abdicated, his younger brother would reign in his place."
rein: "She struggled to rein in the misbehaving children."

3. She walked into the bathroom and interrupted him before he started to gargle.

gargle: clean the mouth and throat with liquid. "I poured what I thought was mouthwash into my mouth and started to gargle."
gurgle: make a sound like moving water. "They could hear the creek gurgle over the rocks."

4. This is the second time he has played a dual role.

dual (adj.): involving two parts or uses. "She seemed to have a dual personality, cheerful one moment and morose the next."
duel (noun): a contest or conflict between two people. "I felt as if I were being challenged to a duel."

5. They are reticent about discussing their participation.

reluctant: doubtful about or not willing to do something. "I am reluctant to go out in this bad weather."
reticent: unwilling to talk about something. "She was reticent about telling him what happened."

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