Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Confusing words - matching exercises based on two top ten lists

Among the growing number of 'Top 10 lists' at Merriam-Webster online dictionary are two sets on confusing words. Here are a couple of exercises based on them.

Merriam-Webster Top 10 confusing words - Set 1

Try the exercise without looking at the dictionary first, but if you need help, clicking on the MW symbol will take you to the relevant page. I've added one or two extra expressions to muddy the waters a bit.

Exercise 1 - Choose the correct options to fill the gaps.
Click and Drop - Click on an option then on the relevant box.

1. flouts, floats, flaunts       MW
She her rich new boyfriend to all her friends.
He openly the law by using his mobile while driving..
He's into birdwatching. Well, whatever your boat, I suppose.
2. affect, effect       MW
How do you think this will our future.
The cold weather has had a negative on farm production.
The government are trying to a change in the way we use energy.
3. desserts, deserts       MW
The Sahara is one of the largest in the world.
The robber got his just when he was given a long prison sentence.
In restaurants they call them , but at home we say puddings.
4. station, stationery, stationary       MW
A vehicle is one that is not moving.
A wagon is the American term for what we call an estate car in the UK.
You can buy office stuff, like paper and pens, in a shop.
5. flack, flak, fleck       MW
You've got a of something on your jacket.
The company has been taking a lot of from the press.
He works in PR; he's some kind of for a record company.
6. it's, its       MW
The seaside town has lost some of Edwardian splendour.
Well, been a lovely day, hasn't it?
You do know her birthday today, don't you?
7. poor, pore, pour       MW
He likes to sit in his armchair and over the newspaper.
Would you like me to you some more wine?
You need to avoid spelling in your essays.
8. fewer, less       MW
There were than ten people there.
It's than ten miles to the airport. Eight and a half at the most.
We've got than one bag of sugar left. We better get some more.
9. floundered, founded, foundered       MW
They around, trying to make their way through the thick mud.
The ship on the rocks during the heavy storm.
The firm was in the 19th century.
10. principal, principle       MW
The reason we moved here is the stunning scenery around the house.
I'm sorry, but I never work on 1st May. It's a matter of .
Her husband has just been made of the school.

Merriam-Webster Top 10 confusing words - Set 2

Try again first without looking at the Top 10 words entries. But if you need help, you can click on any pair of words in the boxes to go directly to the Merriam-Webster explanation.

Exercise 2a - Here are some confusing pairs of verbs. Use them in the correct form to fill the gaps.

1.He felt they were him for being different from the others.
2.We need to with caution here, there could be dangers ahead.
3.The soldiers went from house to house, trying to any remaining terrorists.
4.The college her into the top class due to her outstanding grades.
5.The Queen always her husband out of the room.
6.This full-bodied red wine the steak perfectly.
7.OK, it looks as if we have the basis of a deal. We can the details later.
8.He has been from attending the class this week because of family problems.
9.He her on how well she had done in her exams.
10.He was for driving without due care and attention.

Exercise 2b - Here are some confusing pairs of words. Use them to fill the gaps.

1.We waited expectantly for the scientist to start his talk.
2.He could hear barking. They were apparently going to the dogs on him.
3.Climbing the jagged and vertical rock face was a truly experience.
4.He looked first at her at her sister.
5.We can divide the process of making whisky into several steps.
6.He waded into the river. That way he hoped the dogs would his scent.
7.They slowly climbed the track up the mountain.
8.We could see from the dark sky that a storm was .
9.I hope you'll be about this; I don't want anyone else to know.
10.He thought perhaps she was even more beautiful her sister.

Merriam-Webster Online

When you've finished, I recommend that you go to Merriam-Webster and cycle through the two sets:
You can also see a complete catalogue of their 'Top 10 lists' here. And if you're feeling particularly brave, you could try their vocabulary quiz.


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