Confused Words Exercise (686)

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 lay in a ________ position on the floor, one arm thrown over her upturned face.

  • He was soon joined by Smith, his friend and __________.

  • He prefers the ________ life of a country gentleman.

  • Their _________ efforts resulted in a series of successful product launches.

  • The law was so unpopular that he thought it __________ to abolish it throughout the realm.

Answers and Explanations

1. She lay in a supine position on the floor, one arm thrown over her upturned face.

prone: facing downward, or likely to do or have something or suffer from something. "Flinging himself onto the floor in a prone position, he snatched at the snake at it slithered over the tiles."
supine: facing upward, or weak or passive. "We watched the kids lie supine and make angels in the snow."

2. He was soon joined by Smith, his friend and compatriot.

compatriot: someone from the same country or group. "My compatriots and I took up arms against the tyrant."
expatriate: someone who has renounced allegiance to his or her native country and/or lives outside it. "Most expatriate workers are unskilled laborers or artisans from across the Middle East and Asia."

3. He prefers the staid life of a country gentleman.

staid (adj.): old-fashioned, serious. "His unconventional preaching shocked the more staid members of the flock."
stayed (v.): stopped doing something or going forward. "She stayed until they were ready to board the plane."

4. Their concerted efforts resulted in a series of successful product launches.

concerted: in a coordinated manner. "If they made no preparations for concerted military action, they would be placed at a grave disadvantage."
concentrated: directed toward a single purpose. "We have fully concentrated forces of nearly seventy thousand men with which to attack and defeat the enemy."

5. The law was so unpopular that he thought it expedient to abolish it throughout the realm.

expedient: quick and easy (said of a solution). "They found it expedient to place themselves under the protection of the empire."
expeditious: quick and efficient. "The lessons of the disaster were clear and simple: any response must be expeditious, or it is worthless."

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