Confused Words Exercise (651)

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.)

  • It was my job to _________ hand the packages off.

  • They chose to _________ the agreement.

  • I see no reason why he’d _________ such a complex fraud.

  • She answered questions when spoken to but was __________ most of the time.

  • In order to avoid being robbery targets, tourists are encouraged to not wear __________ jewelry.

Answers and Explanations

1. It was my job to discreetly hand the packages off.

discreetly: without attracting attention. "Servants trained to be all but invisible moved discreetly through the room."
discretely: separately. "The sculptures are set discretely, positioned at regular intervals in the exhibit hall."

2. They chose to abrogate the agreement.

abdicate: give up rule. "They were forced to abdicate, and the ordinary magistrates were restored."
abrogate: cancel or end something. "The ministry proposed to abrogate the electoral law of 1850, and restore universal suffrage."

3. I see no reason why he’d perpetrate such a complex fraud.

perpetrate: do something illegal or wrong. "The ingenuity with which he contrived to perpetrate forgeries without exposing himself to the risk of detection amazed her."
perpetuate: cause something to continue or last. "In order to perpetuate this system, the method of amending the constitution was made extremely difficult."

4. She answered questions when spoken to but was reticent most of the time.

reluctant: averse or hesitant. "After what happened yesterday, she is reluctant to bring the subject up."
reticent: not inclined or willing to speak, or restrained. "Although he is reticent on the subject of his private life in interviews, he has been married twice."

5. In order to avoid being robbery targets, tourists are encouraged to not wear ostentatious jewelry.

ostensible: said or seeming to be real or true but perhaps not. "The ostensible motive for the assassination was revenge, but they had more far-reaching motives."
ostentatious: conspicuous or flashy. "Her dress was inappropriately ostentatious for such an elegant event."

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