Confused Words Exercise (84)

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 likes to __________ his facial tics.

  • He __________ a talent for music when he was very young.

  • The floral print __________ her green blouse.

  • They __________ the tension by beginning with an apology.

  • The __________ look on her face told him that his excuse had not satisfied her.

Answers and Explanations

1. She likes to imitate his facial tics.

To emulate is to try to be like someone or something admired; to imitate is to copy behavior or another quality.

2. He evinced a talent for music when he was very young.

To evince is to reveal or to demonstrate evidence of; to evoke is to bring to mind or call forth.

3. The floral print complemented her green blouse.

To compliment is to express one’s admiration or approval; to complement is to add so as to complete or enhance.

4. They defused the tension by beginning with an apology.

To defuse is to reduce the impact of an unpleasant quality; diffuse means to spread out over a wide area.

5. The incredulous look on her face told him that his excuse had not satisfied her.

Incredible means "unbelievable" or "extremely good or large"; incredulous means "disbelieving." (His excuse may have been unbelievable, but her expression was one of disbelief.)

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