Confused Words Exercise (765)

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.)

  • John became ________ at the thought that she would beat him out for the promotion.

  • If you don’t understand the truly _________ nature of the national ID card, you probably deserve to be living in a police state.

  • "She had hoped to be favored as Mary’s _________, but the older woman saw through her scheme."

  • The one _________ fact about the campaign, the one most striking to historians, was that his offensive strategy was too timid.

  • It __________ isn’t hunting season, and there’s no good reason for anyone to be shooting.

Answers and Explanations

1. John became livid at the thought that she would beat him out for the promotion.

livid: discolored by bruising, or enraged. "I was livid when I learned my flight would be delayed another six hours."
pallid: dull or pale. "Jane has tried all sorts of ways to give her pallid complexion just a touch of color."

2. If you don’t understand the truly pernicious nature of the national ID card, you probably deserve to be living in a police state.

malicious: having or showing a desire to cause harm. "Hearing the malicious rumors about her caused her much anguish."
pernicious: deadly or harmful. "The pernicious weed has spread throughout the garden."

3. "She had hoped to be favored as Mary’s protégé, but the older woman saw through her scheme."

prodigy: an unusually talented young person. "She was hailed as a prodigy when she performed with the symphony at the age of ten."
protégé: a young person mentored by a more experienced person. "Unfortunately, Smith’s protégé showed little promise, and he became disillusioned about the young man’s future."

4. The one salient fact about the campaign, the one most striking to historians, was that his offensive strategy was too timid.

pertinent: related. "They took turns relating the story, careful to include all the pertinent details."
salient: important or noticeable. "Fiscal discipline was a salient feature of their economic policy."

5. It definitely isn’t hunting season, and there’s no good reason for anyone to be shooting.

defiantly: with refusal to obey. "The rebellious girl defiantly obstructed their efforts to get her to conform to their expectations."
definitely: certainly. "I am definitely going to that concert—nothing is going to stop me.

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