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How Well Do You Know These Commonly Misused Words?

Whet your appetite with this quiz.

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Choose the right words to fill in the blanks:

  1. fewer
    less
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "I can cook, but only if the recipe has fewer than three ingredients."

    "Fewer" is used for plural/countable nouns, and "less" is for singular nouns.

  2. use
    used
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "A long time ago, we used to be friends."

    "Used to" is a past-tense verb, so it needs that D!

  3. adieu
    ado
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "Without further ado, here are the top 20 baby names of 2015."

    "Ado" means fuss or trouble; "adieu" means farewell.

  4. wet
    whet
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "These culinary creations will whet your appetite."

    "Wet" means to make wet, while "whet" means to make sharper or stronger.

  5. peak
    peek
    pique
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "Here's a sneak peek at the monsters in the new Doctor Who Christmas special."

    A peek is a look, and a peak is the top of a mountain. Pique is an emotional response to indignity (or a verb that means to cause such a response).

  6. have
    of
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "The writers should have known better than to kill off a favorite character."

    "Should of" may sound similar to "should've," but it's not good grammar!

  7. Irregardless
    Regardless
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "Regardless of how much they practiced, the players knew they were going to lose."

    "Irregardless" is a nonstandard form of "regardless," and most dictionaries discourage using it.

  8. tenderhooks
    tenterhooks
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "The world is on tenterhooks waiting for Beyoncé's next album."

    Being on tenterhooks means being kept in suspense. "Tenderhooks" is not a real thing.

  9. farther
    further
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "The weather just gets worse the farther west you go."

    "Farther" refers to distance; "further" refers to degree.

  10. do
    due
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "To keep it simple, you can make do with concealer, mascara, and a neutral lipstick."

    To "make do" means to get along with what you have, i.e., to make (something) do (well enough for your purposes).

  11. baited
    bated
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "Fans waited with bated breath for Zayn Malik to break his silence."

    To bate is to diminish, so "with bated breath" means they were nearly holding their breath with anticipation.

  12. intensive purposes
    intents and purposes
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "For all intents and purposes, it was a declaration of war."

    The phrase is "for all intents and purposes" — not just the intensive purposes, all of them!

  13. statute
    statue
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "By the time police started investigating, the statute of limitations had expired."

    A statute is a written law or regulation; a statue is a sculpted figure.

  14. composed
    comprised
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "They formed a judging panel composed of 11 chefs and bakers."

    These words are sometimes used interchangeably, but they're technically opposites: To compose is to make up; to comprise is to be made up of.

  15. implies
    infers
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "The Pokédex implies that humans nearly hunted the Farfetch'd into extinction."

    To imply is to suggest; to infer is to guess or surmise.

  16. seated
    seeded
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "Their deep-seated frustration had simmered for decades."

    "Deep-seeded" may sound right, but it's actually "deep-seated" — picture someone seated firmly on a throne.

  17. jibe
    jive
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "If you don't jibe well with dairy, go ahead and leave off the cheese."

    To jibe is to be in agreement; to jive is to tease (or to dance to jive music).

  18. peaked
    peeked
    piqued
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "When you see a SALE sign, your curiosity is piqued."

    To pique is to cause an emotional response, like curiosity or annoyance. "Peaked" means at a high point, and "peeked" means looked.

  19. e.g.
    i.e.
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "My favorite animals are rodents — e.g., gerbils, hamsters, and guinea pigs."

    "E.g." stands for "exempli gratia," which means "for example," while "i.e." stands for "id est," or "that is" — so use e.g. for examples and i.e. for providing clarification.

  20. regime
    regimen
    regiment
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "Starting a workout regimen can be intimidating, but it's also totally rewarding."

    A regimen is a plan for staying healthy, whereas a regime is a form of government and a regiment is a military unit. Totally different!

How Well Do You Know These Commonly Misused Words?

Grammar ally

It's OK. People will still know what you mean regardless of whether you say "further" or "farther."

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Grammar pro

For all intents and purposes, you know your way around the English language!

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Grammar genius

You have a deep-seated love of proper English!

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