1. Education
Richard Nordquist

Quiz on Commonly Confused Words: Back-to-School Edition

By September 14, 2012

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You know the drill: ten questions, two minutes, correct answers at the end of the post. (For explanations, examples, and exercises, follow the links to our Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words.)

  1. Boar, Boor, or Bore
    Princess Calla: Then after they left, a traveler said there was a gigantic _____ out in the woods.
    Grammi Gummi: Oh, don't be silly, dear. Gruffi is underground in the Quick Tunnels.
    Princess Calla: No, I mean the animal kind of _____.
    ("Loopy, Go Home." Adventures of the Gummi Bears, 1985)

  2. Childish or Childlike
    The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It's a good non-specific symptom; I'm a big believer in it. . . . You fake a stomach cramp, and when you're bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It's a little _____ and stupid, but then, so is high school.
    (Matthew Broderick as Ferris in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986)

  3. Hoarse or Horse
    Miss Raswani walked straight as a ramrod, her sari always severely pinned and pleated, her thick white hair pulled back in a tight bun. Her pupils had a white rim around them. She had a loud, _____ voice that terrorized the whole entire school.
    (Nayana Currimbhoy, Miss Timmins' School for Girls. HarperCollins, 2011)

  4. Hole or Whole
    What happened down in the dungeon between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret. So, naturally, the _____ school knows.
    (Richard Harris as Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 2001)

  5. Manner or Manor
    Somewhere in the English countryside, in a stately _____ home, Madonna is weeping!
    (Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester in "The Power of Madonna." Glee, 2010)

  6. Naval or Navel
    At the checkout counter, Keelie's eyes immediately zeroed in on a tiny oak-leaf _____ ring in a display of silver body jewelry. It was perfect for her, even though she didn't have a pierced _____.
    (Gillian Summers, Into the Wildewood. Flux, 2008)

  7. Than or Then
    When you breathe, you inhale and you exhale, but every single time that you do that you're a little bit different _____ the one before. We're always changing. And it's important to know that there are some changes you can't control and that there are others you can.
    (Ryan Gosling as Dan Dunne in Half Nelson, 2006)

  8. Risky or Risqué
    "Dirty dancing" and the lambada were considered too _____ by many when they became popular. In the present day, many high schools ban freaking, grinding, and other dances that simulate the sex act. Some schools have equipped chaperones with flashlights to expose inappropriate movements.
    (Mark Knowles, The Wicked Waltz and Other Scandalous Dances. McFarland, 2009)

  9. Threw, Through, or Thru
    Please, try to understand. I don't have the background for this. I mean, the high school I went to, they asked a kid to prove the law of gravity, he _____ the teacher out the window!
    (Rodney Dangerfield as Thornton Melon in Back to School, 1986)

  10. Whose or Who's
    Now that I have more life experience, I feel sorry for Mr. McAllister. I mean, anyone _____ stuck in the same little room, wearing the same stupid clothes, saying the exact same things year after year for his whole life, while his students go on to good colleges, move to big cities and do great things and make loads of money--he's got to be at least a little jealous. It's like my mom says: the weak are always trying to sabotage the strong.
    (Reese Witherspoon as Tracy Flick in Election, 1999)


  1. boar, boar
  2. childish
  3. hoarse
  4. whole
  5. manor
  6. navel, navel
  7. than
  8. risqué
  9. threw
  10. who's

More Quizzes on Commonly Confused Words:


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