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Richard Nordquist

Quiz on Commonly Confused Words (Autumn 2012)

By November 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. Bail or Bale
    "A founder member of the Electric Light Orchestra was killed by a half tonne hay _____ which rolled down a field into the path of his van, a jury heard yesterday."
    (Ben Rankin, "In the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time." Daily Mirror [UK], November 8, 2012)

  2. Bridal or Bridle
    "The site forms part of a _____ path to East End House and the woodland is home to a variety of wildlife including badgers, owls and pipistrelle bats."
    ("Plans for Two Woodland Homes in Nailsea Are Rejected." The Bristol Post [UK], November 12, 2012)

  3. Calvary or Cavalry
    "One of several existing stables from the 1870s, the hall's walls still have dozens of the iron rings for tethering _____ mounts."
    (Laurel L. Scott, "Angelo State Civil War Series Will Focus on Mules' Work." San Angelo Standard-Times, November 12, 2012)

  4. Earthly or Earthy
    "As any coffee drinker will tell you, the day immediately begins to feel better after taking that first _____, faintly bitter sip o' joe from the edge of a steaming cup."
    (Brett Smith, "Caffeine Increases Ability to Recognize Positive Words." redOrbit.com, November 8, 2012)

  5. Grate or Great
    "'The word homeless has the connotation of somebody pushing a shopping cart or sleeping on a sewer _____,' said Richard Baldwin, coordinator of the Shiawassee County Homeless Coalition."
    (Sally York, "Program to Aid Homeless People Planned Next Week." Argus-Press, November 8, 2012)

  6. Imaginary or Imaginative
    "New and _____ ways of caring for elderly people are springing up across England--with claims it is necessary because politicians are 'scared' of raising taxes to pay for it."
    ("New Ways of Caring for Elderly People." BBC News, October 14, 2012)

  7. Inhuman or Inhumane
    "Killing elephants for their tusks is not only a brutal and _____ practice, but it has been illegal since 1989, when a global ban on ivory was put in place."
    ("World's Only Wildlife Forensic CSI Lab Works to Stop Poachers. PrairieDogPress, November 12, 2012)

  8. Inveigh or Inveigle
    "The Republicans who litigate against early voting--and in favor of voter ID--talk about following the rules, even though the rules they are crafting have such self-serving ends, and _____ against voter fraud, even though in-person vote stealing almost never actually occurs."
    (Emily Bazelon, "Don't Hamper Voters." Chicago Tribune, November 7, 2012)

  9. Judicial or Judicious
    "With a little _____ pruning of trees and bushes in your yard, you can make a stunning wreath that will last through the holidays."
    (Margaret LeRoux, "Gather Greens and Get Styling With a DIY Wreath." Telegram [Worcester, MA], November 12, 2012)

  10. Yoke or Yolk
    "Defectors? That's a term usually reserved for Syrian troops who go AWOL or adults who escaped the _____ of authoritarian regimes."
    (Debra J. Saunders, "The War on 'Obama defectors.'" San Francisco Chronicle, October 31, 2012)


  1. bale
  2. bridle
  3. cavalry
  4. earthy
  5. grate
  6. imaginative
  7. inhumane
  8. inveigh
  9. judicious
  10. yoke

More Quizzes on Commonly Confused Words:


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