Confused Words Exercise (543)

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.)

  • John knew he had to __________ the machine.

  • She did not participate to the ________ we had expected.

  • What is the guiding ________ for how this organization is managed?

  • The plot is clever, but the _______ prose is distracting.

  • It is _________ that he lost his temper during the delicate negotiations.

Answers and Explanations

1. John knew he had to disassemble the machine.

disassemble: take apart. "If I disassemble the device, I might not be able to put it back together again."
dissemble: deviously conceal feelings or opinions. "Mary wondered what reason Jane would have to dissemble about her whereabouts the previous night."

2. She did not participate to the extent we had expected.

extant: existing. "This is the only extant copy we know of."
extent: limit, range. "Smith wasn’t sure to what extent Jones was responsible."

3. What is the guiding principle for how this organization is managed?

principal: leader of a school, or an amount of money being saved or loaned. "The key is to pay off as much of the principal as possible each month to reduce interest payments."
principle: a belief, fact, law, rule, theory, or truth. "The principle of self-preservation seems to be most important to him."

4. The plot is clever, but the turgid prose is distracting.

turbid: referring to liquid that is cloudy or muddy. "It was difficult to know how deep the turbid water was."
turgid: complicated or pretentious, or larger because of swelling. "She applied a cold compress to sooth his turgid cheek."

5. It is regrettable that he lost his temper during the delicate negotiations.

regrettable: causing sadness or disappointment. "It is regrettable that we had to cancel the event."
regretful: sad or disappointed. "I am regretful that you had to witness such rude behavior."

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