Confused Words Exercise (640)

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.)

  • Inviting a ______ like him to dinner is certain to offend the other guests.

  • They waited, and after a few seconds there was the _________ sound of movement above them.

  • He’s been responsible for a large _______ of mistakes.

  • The emotional side of him wanted to _______ the man’s neck.

  • The climbers had nearly reached the goal of their _________.

Answers and Explanations

1. Inviting a boor like him to dinner is certain to offend the other guests.

boor: rude person. "The professor was popular in his classes but a terrible boor at social events."
bore: dull person. "I couldn’t wait to excuse myself from a tedious (and one-sided) conversation with the insufferable bore."

2. They waited, and after a few seconds there was the distinct sound of movement above them.

distinct: definite, easy to sense, noticeably different. "However, these specimens are so brightly colored that they have been deemed to form a distinct species."
distinctive: easily distinguished, notable for an unusual quality: "The relatively small size of the ear is one of the most distinctive characteristics."

3. He’s been responsible for a large number of mistakes.

amount: quantity; used with mass nouns. "The annual amount of rainfall has declined precipitously."
number: sum; used with count nouns. "The number of choices available added to the confusion."

4. The emotional side of him wanted to wring the man’s neck.

ring: encircle. "As the horsemen closed in, they formed a circle to ring the small band of travelers."
wring: squeeze and twist. "The little princess began to cry capriciously like a suffering child and to wring her little hands."

5. The climbers had nearly reached the goal of their ascent.

ascendance: an act of moving up or rising; usually figurative. "The beginning of his ascendance is marked by an unprecedented outward expansion of the empire’s power."
ascent: upward climb or slope, or progress; figurative or literal. "The temperature was in the high teens, but as the sun began its ascent, it felt far warmer."

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