Confused Words Exercise (554)

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.)

  • She performed admirably under ________ conditions.

  • He had the same chances to succeed that I had, so I have no sympathy for his ________ remarks.

  • The road to the cabin is narrow and _________.

  • I can’t help but ______ from the evidence that you are an accomplice.

  • Many readers found the ________ obscure.

Answers and Explanations

1. She performed admirably under adverse conditions.

adverse: unfavorable. "The adverse criticism affected him deeply."
averse: feeling distaste or repugnance. "I am averse to spicy foods."

2. He had the same chances to succeed that I had, so I have no sympathy for his invidious remarks.

insidious: subtly invasive, seductive, or treacherous. "He had been warned about her insidious behavior, but he wasn’t prepared for the depth of her treachery."
invidious: harmful, obnoxious, or resentful. "Their invidious attitude struck him as stemming from their discontent."

3. The road to the cabin is narrow and tortuous.

torturous: painfully difficult, or causing suffering. "After enduring the torturous conversation, she resolved never to speak to them again."
tortuous: long and complicated or twisting. "The tortuous, meticulously plotted scheme would have unfolded without a hitch if not for a fortuitous discovery."

4. I can’t help but infer from the evidence that you are an accomplice.

imply: suggest without stating explicitly. "I wasn’t trying to imply that I agree with her."
infer: form an opinion or reach a conclusion, or hint. "Am I to infer that you are responsible for this controversy?"

5. Many readers found the allusion obscure.

allusion: an indirect reference. "Allusions to current events appear throughout the book."
illusion: something that is not what it appears or seems real but is not. "The gated community’s illusion of security was shattered that day."

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