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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tips for Sharpening Your Writing Skills


Don’t be Duped! 10 Commonly Confused Words
Take this quiz to determine your befuddled quotient (answers are below):

1. Allusion or Illusion "The single biggest problem in communication is the _____ that it has taken place." (George Bernard Shaw)

2. Credible or Credulous "The most imaginative people are the most _____: for them everything is possible." (Alexander Chase)

3. Dazed or Dazzled In "A Scandal in Bohemia," Sherlock Holmes is ______ by the only woman who succeeded in outfoxing him.

4. Homed or Honed Last year, scientists re-engineered E coli bacteria so that instead of swimming toward food they _____ in on substances released by dangerous pathogens.

5. Lead or Led "We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has _____ to the present." (Adlai E. Stevenson)

6. Official or Officious Julia Child once grabbed a pepper mill from the hands of an _____ waiter before he had a chance to spoil her carefully ordered dish.

7. Pole or Poll "A public-opinion _____ is no substitute for thought." (Warren Buffett)

8. Riffled or Rifled ”Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We pillage, we plunder, we _____, and loot.” (Xavier Atencio and George Bruns, "Yo Ho")

9. Stanch or Staunch "There's an evil on these seas that even the most _____ and bloodthirsty pirates have come to fear." (Tia Dalma in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End)

10. Vale or Veil "Our own self-love draws a thick _____ between us and our faults." (Lord Chesterfield)

Answers:
1. illusion (An “allusion” is an indirect reference to something, whereas an “illusion” is a false impression.)

2. credulous (“Credible” means believable or trustworthy; “credulous” means gullible, tending to believe too easily.)

3. dazzled (“Dazzled” means amazed by a spectacular display; “dazed” means shocked or stunned, as with a heavy object.)

4. homed (“To home” means to move toward a goal, while “to hone” means to sharpen.)

5. led (“Lead” [rhymes with bead} refers to an example or initiative or position at the front, and “led” is its past and past participle. “Lead” [rhymes with bed] refers to the metal.)

6. officious (“Officious” means meddlesome, excessively eager to offer help or advice. “Official” means authorized.)

7. poll (A “poll” refers to votes in an election or answers to questions in a survey. A “pole” is a long staff or the extremity of an axis of a sphere, such as the North Pole.)

8. rifled (“Rifle” means to rob, whereas “riffle” means to shuffle or leaf through something.)

9. staunch (“Staunch” is an adjective meaning strong or steadfast, whereas “stanch” is a verb meaning to check or stop the flow of something.)

10. veil (“Veil” as a noun refers to a piece of clothing; as a verb it means to cover or disguise. “Vale” is another word for valley.)

Any of these a problem for you?

WIN A CRITIQUE! RULES TO ENTER WILL BE POSTED NOVEMBER 1-11.

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