Confused Words Exercise (722)

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 is impossible to _________ the importance of this measure for the future of the country.

  • A person who makes jokes about the dead definitely has a _________ sense of humor.

  • The profusion and variety of insects found in these forests probably _________ those to be met with anywhere else in the world.

  • Conspiracy theorists ________ about government cover-ups in online comments and on radio talk shows.

  • The exchange was a stark testimony to the incongruities of man ________ woman.

Answers and Explanations

1. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this measure for the future of the country.

exaggerate: make or think of a quality of something as larger or greater than it normally or actually is. "He is inclined to exaggerate his achievements, which are commendable but not notable."
exacerbate: make something bad worse. "He wanted to put his arms around her, but knew he’d just exacerbate the tense situation."

2. A person who makes jokes about the dead definitely has a morbid sense of humor.

morbid: abnormal, unhealthy, or unpleasant. "With a morbid fascination, people flocked to the town from outer areas to catch a glimpse of the devastation."
moribund: close to death or failure. "The moribund real estate market is causing many agents and brokers to seek new careers."

3. The profusion and variety of insects found in these forests probably surpass those to be met with anywhere else in the world.

supersede: replace. "His incompetence was so flagrant that it became necessary to supersede him."
surpass: be better or greater than someone or something. "China will soon surpass Japan in economic power."

4. Conspiracy theorists fulminate about government cover-ups in online comments and on radio talk shows.

fulminate: complain angrily or loudly (or, as a noun, any one of various explosive chemicals). "The bombastic orator continued to fulminate against the corruption and excesses of modern society even as his audience drifted away."
fumigate: destroy germs or pests with gas or smoke. "Sulfur dioxide is a powerful disinfectant used to fumigate rooms.

5. The exchange was a stark testimony to the incongruities of man versus woman.

verses: rhythmic writing, or sections of Bible chapters. "He began to write poetry and published his first volume of verses three years later."
versus: against, or in contrast to. "The dominant issue of the debate was centralism versus federalism.

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