Vocabulary Quiz #8: Commonly Confused Words

By Mark Nichol

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.)

1. Do you mean to __________ that I stole your cell phone?
a) infer
b) imply

2. The students are ___________ in learning algebra.
a) disinterested
b) uninterested

3. The state ____________ is a miniature of the one in Washington D.C.
a) capitol
b) capital

4. Between the years 1845 and 1855, nearly a million people _______ from Germany to the United States.
a) emigrated
b) immigrated

5. The agents used torture to ___________ information from the prisoners.
a) illicit
b) elicit

Answers and Explanations

1. Do you mean to imply that I stole your cell phone?
b) imply

“To imply” means suggest, while “to infer” means to draw a conclusion by reasoning.

2. The students are uninterested in learning algebra.
b) uninterested

The word “uninterested” indicates simple lack of interest, while “disinterested” connotes a lack of self-interest in a matter to be decided.

3. The state capitol is a miniature of the one in Washington D.C.
a) capitol

A capitol is a building that serves as a center of government; a capital is the chief city in a country or a state.

4. Between the years 1845 and 1855, nearly a million people emigrated from Germany to the United States.
a) emigrated

“To emigrate” is to leave a country with the intention of settling in another. “To immigrate” is to pass into a new country of residence.

5. The agents used torture to elicit information from the prisoners.
b) elicit

“Elicit” is to draw out a response. “Illicit” means not lawful.

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