Don’t be Duped! 10 Commonly Confused Words
Take this quiz to determine your befuddled quotient (answers are below):
1. Capital or Capitol Indianapolis is the _____ of Indiana.
2. Defuse or Diffuse "Gossip is a sort of smoke that comes from the dirty tobacco-pipes of those who _____ it: it proves nothing but the bad taste of the smoker." (George Eliot)
3. Formally or Formerly "Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework _____ eaten by the dog." (Doug Larson)
4. Gibe, Jibe, or Jive " "Do you promise to jump, _____, wail, groove, rock steady, and at all times lend a helping hand to your fellow music lovers?" (The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning)
5. Hurdling or Hurtling "The ground beneath our feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour. The entire planet is _____ around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour. And I can feel it." (The Doctor in Doctor Who)
6. Loose or Lose "The best way to find yourself is to _____ yourself in the service of others." (Mohandas Gandhi)
7. Peak, Peek, or Pique "The man who unified China in the third century B.C. conquered six other feudal states to do it, built the first version of the Great Wall and in a fit of _____ may have buried hundreds of scholars alive." (Time magazine, May 18, 2008)
8. Regretful or Regrettable The movie is beautiful, luscious, and elegiac, but it has the _____ drawback of being dreadfully boring.
9. Suit or Suite "I'd walk through hell in a gasoline _____ to play baseball." (Pete Rose)
10. Troop or Troupe In the end, the plucky yodeler lost out to a dance _____.
1. Capital (Capital has multiple meanings: (1) a city that serves as the seat of government; (2) wealth in the form of money or property; (3) an asset or advantage; (4) a capital letter. Capitol refers to the building in which a legislative assembly meets. Remember that the o in capitol is like the o in the dome of a capitol building.)
2. diffuse (Defuse means to remove a fuse or to make a situation less dangerous; diffuse means to spread out or scatter.)
3. formerly (Formerly means at an earlier time, whereas formally means in a formal way.)
4. jive (Jive means to dance, talk, or mislead. Jibe means to be in accord or consistent with something, and is also a nautical term that refers to the shifting of a sail. Jibe can also be used figuratively for any sudden shift of direction. Gibe refers to a taunting or derisive remark. In this sense, jibe is considered an acceptable alternative to gibe.)
5. hurtling (Hurtle means to move with great speed or to throw with great force, whereas hurdle means to leap over or overcome an obstacle.)
6. lose (Lose means not to win or not to keep. Loose means not tight.)
7. pique (Pique refers to a sense of wounded pride, or, as a verb, to excite, arouse, or irritate. Peak refers to a pointed end or top of a hill or mountain; as a verb it means to reach a maximum; as an adjective it means being at the maximum. As both a noun and a verb, peek refers to a glance or brief look.)
8. regrettable (Regretful refers to people and means full of regret, whereas regrettable applies to incidents or situations and means causing or deserving regret.)
9. suit (Suit [pronounced "sewt"] means a set of garments, a claim in court, or a set of playing cards bearing the same mark. Suite [pronounced "sweet"] means a musical composition, a staff of attendants, or a set of things, such as pieces of furniture, that form a unit. In parts of Canada, suite is also used as a synonym for apartment or flat.)
10. troupe (Troupe refers specifically to a group of theatrical performers, whereas troop refers to a group of soldiers or a collection of people or things.}
HOW DID YOU DO ON THESE? SEVERAL ARE COMMON ERRORS.