People reveal themselves in a multitude of ways: through clothing, hairstyles, affectations and conversation. One sign of a literature individual is his (or her) ability to use the English language appropriately. Word usage, whether in casual conversation or in a written form can provide clues to a person’s educational and social level. The words below cause some difficulty. See if you can select the correct choice for each sentence. You can check your answers at the bottom.

1. T.S. Elliot’s poems contain many Biblical (allusions, illusions).
2. My grandparents (emigrated, immigrated) from Italy.
3. Ned’s cousin is several years older (then, than) he.
4. The novel’s ending was quite (climactic, climatic).
5. I was so (enervated, energized) by the heat that I (lay, laid) in the lawn chair all afternoon.
6. Tina (couldn’t, could) care less about the latest fashion trends.
7. What (principals, principles) regarding this issue are most important to you?
8. The prosecutor accused the politician of engaging in (elicit, illicit) activities.
9. The kayaker could see the power boat racing (toward, towards) him.
10. (Raise, Rise) the blinds before you leave.
11. What is the (capital, capitol) of Connecticut?
12. The broken door bell sounded (continuously, continually).

At the risk of losing a friend, you might want to make the correction silently in your own head the next time you notice someone engaging on one or more of these malapropisms.
1. allusions 2. emigrated 3. than 4. climactic 5. enervated, lay 6. couldn’t 7. principles 8. illicit 9. toward 10. Raise 11. capital 12. continuously     

Leave a Reply