Confused Words Exercise (726)

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.)

  • A Web site was created listing __________ information on missing persons’ cases.

  • People first abandon reason and then become __________, and the deeper they are in error, the more angry they are.

  • His plan was to __________ the rope by jamming a nail between the twining cords.

  • If any one of us had retained a _______of common sense, we’d never have pursued the course we undertook.

  • They may give off unhealthy ________ and produce unpleasant odors.

Answers and Explanations

1. A Web site was created listing pertinent information on missing persons’ cases.

pertinacious: persistent, resolute. "In conversation he was a singularly eager, acute, and pertinacious disputant."
pertinent: appropriate, applicable. "They took turns relating the story, careful to include all the pertinent details."

2. People first abandon reason and then become obstinate, and the deeper they are in error, the more angry they are.

obstinate: stubborn. "I have often encountered such proud, obstinate, ridiculous judgments."
obstreperous: loud and uncontrollable. "The restaurant owner ejected the obstreperous customer."

3. His plan was to split the rope by jamming a nail between the twining cords.

splice: join by connecting, twisting, or weaving. "They spliced the cable, but it snapped again almost immediately."
split: break, divide, or separate. "The wood was split and stacked beside the house, waiting for a winter fire.

4. If any one of us had retained a whitof common sense, we’d never have pursued the course we undertook.

whit: a very small amount. "He had the satisfaction of knowing that his domains would pass into the hands of a nephew every whit as capable and sagacious as himself."
wit: cleverness. "She was renowned for her boldness and promptness of decision, as well as for her ready wit.

5. They may give off unhealthy fumes and produce unpleasant odors.

flumes: channels or ravines with flowing water. "The flumes enabled the miners to divert the stream while they worked over the gravel in the stream bed."
fumes: unpleasant-smelling gas or smoke. "The stinking black fumes nearly overwhelmed them."

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