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Grate and Great

Commonly Confused Words


As a noun, grate means a fireplace or a framework of crossed bars. As a verb, grate means to grind, scrape, or irritate.

The adjective great means much more than average or ordinary in size, extent, volume, value, or importance.


  • Bits of wood crackled in the grate.

  • Harvey's laughter made Aunt Karen grate her teeth.

  • "I believe in the fundamental truth of all great religions of the world." (Mahatma Gandhi)


(a) Moby Dick, the _____ white whale, was a symbol of the world's evils to Captain Ahab.

(b) The holes in the _____ provide ample draft.

(c) Harold's first _____ mistake was attempting to cheat on the exam.

Answers to Practice Exercises

Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words

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