Can You Tell If These Commonly Misused Words Are Being Used Correctly?
By: E-maginne Grant
Image: Nastasic/E+/Getty Images
About This Quiz
Words have been misused since the beginning of time. We humans have a way of making things up as we go. Call it innovation! Some words that begin as slang become a household name and are eventually added to the dictionary.
For example, conversate is a common slang word. Merriam-Webster's dictionary discovered a citation from the year 1811 where conversate was used. Archibald Loudon wrote, "Elizabeth and her children were once more favored with the agreeable opportunity of seeing and conversating with her ancient mother." In 2016, the Oxford English Dictionary added conversate as an official word. Drop this knowledge the next time someone argues with you as to whether or not conversate is a word.
How many common words have you been misusing all your life? Maybe you have impeccable grammar. If so, we tip our hats to you! Take this quiz and you can not only identify some commonly misused words but find out some cool facts along the way. What a way to kill two birds with one stone! Is it there, their, or they're? You tell us! Do you know the difference between allusion and illusion? Here's your chance to find out. The first question is an easy one, we promise!
Can you identify which word in the following sentence is being misused? I wanted too receive a royal baby shower invitation, but it's restricted to royal family members.
The "too" and "to" dilemma is one as old as time. How do you remember when to use the right one? Too is an adverb that means also or excessive, like one too many o's. To is a preposition meaning towards or in the direction of.
Starfish can regrow limbs. Their central disc is the key to regeneration. Is there a common word in this interesting fact being used incorrectly?
Nope, it's perfect!
It may sound strange, but Starfish can regrow limbs! It takes about a year for a limb to fully regenerate. You might even catch a starfish in mid-regeneration phase. Of course, it will only look like a stunted limb, but interesting nonetheless.
The ashes of Fredric Baur, the man who invented the Pringles can, where put in a Pringles can when he passed in 2008. I love Pringles, but I'm sure one of these words are being used incorrectly. Do you see it too?
If only we could have a permanent guide to tell us when to use where, were and we're. Since we are talking in past tense, "were" is the right answer. Think of something you were going to buy, but decided not to.
Fill in the blank: In 1923 Hollywood was originally named Hollywoodland. Actors and actresses still go ____ and risk it all with dreams of being discovered.
That's right, when the sign was first built in 1923, it said "Hollywoodland." The sign cost roughly $21,000 to build. That's over $300,000 today. Sadly, the "land" part was removed in 1949 by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
Hot water can freeze faster than cold water, it's called the Mpemba effect. Pick the word that is similar to effect.
The word effect is one that stumps a lot of us, mostly because it's hard to determine when to use effect or affect. Remember, effect is the a final result, while affect refers to the influence of something. I think this quiz will have a positive effect on you.
Yogurtland, a frozen desert shop, has over 200 delicious flavors. There's a word in this sentence that doesn't seem to fit. Can you find it?
We wouldn't be able to find a desert at Yogurtland, but there are plenty of desserts. How can you remember how many s's to use? Strawberry shortcake is delicious, but it also has 2 s's. So does dessert!
Which sentence is using the word "Aisle" correctly?
The British Aisles have two nations.
Airplane seat aisles are too narrow.
Those pesky airplane aisles are very hard to walk through. Since we can't change the aisles, let's use it to our advantage. Airplane starts with an "A" and so does Aisle. Those narrow aisles serve a purpose after all.
Fill in the blank: In the 2008 movie, "The Hurt Locker," the most thrilling scene was when Sergeant William James had to _____ the bomb!
Be careful not to confuse defuse with diffuse. Defuse means to remove or reduce a fuse or danger. Diffuse refers to spreading something out. Think of your aromatherapy oil diffuser spreading the lavender scent all around your room.
Affect is a common misused word. Remember the effect/affect debate from earlier? Which word can be a synonym for affect?
We just love the effect/affect dilemma. Here's another tip to help you remember which word to use. Remember the poem by Edgar Allan Poe titled "The Raven"? It stands for "Remember Affect Verb Effect Noun." Thank us later!
Which sentence is using the word apart correctly? Go ahead, pick each sentence apart.
My favorite shoes are falling apart.
Don't well all just love the grand old apart dilemma. Sometimes spellcheck doesn't catch us when we use it in a sentence incorrectly. Here's the deal, apart means to separate. You want to separate "a" from "part." Happy separating!
Disassemble and unassembled have very similar means and are often used in place of each other. Which word closely relates to disassemble?
This might be a tough one. Disassemble is used when you are taking something fully apart. Unassembled refers to a part of something that needs to be put together. For example, all of the pieces of a desk will come packaged together but each one will be unassembled.
Which word should be in the sentence below? Death Valley, California has one of the hottest ______ in the world!
The Mojave Desert is in Death Valley, California. The highest temperature ever recorded was in 1913 at a blazing 134 degrees Fahrenheit or 56.7 degrees Celsius. A tasty frozen dessert has no chance in this outside oven. A pizza might do well though.
Irregardless of how you use it, it's not a real word. Sorry guys. Not to worry, there is a word that means what irregardless should mean. See if you can guess it below.
Irregardless is a slang word similar to conversate, except it hasn't been officially added to the dictionary yet. Although, with decades of consistent use, it might be added. Oddly, this non-existent word still holds a definition of without regard.
Have you ever seen the phrase "Due Diligence?" This is a commonly misunderstood phrase. Can you tell us what it really means?
When hearing the phrase "Due Diligence," a lot of people may visualize the phrase as "Do Diligence." This could be the reason for the misunderstanding. Due diligence is a legal term that promises all parties and businesses will be fully investigated.
Principal and principle sound exactly the same. It shouldn't be a crime to misuse them, but it is a crime, a grammar crime. Which phrase below is a true example of a life principle?
Green means go
Keep your eyes peeled
No strain, no gain
Anything can become a life principle. A principle is a realization that supports a specific set of beliefs or thought process. Another example of a principle is "Don't go to bed angry." I know you've heard that one before.
Which word below sounds similar to disburse but means to distribute or scatter.
They sound the same, but there is a specific difference. Disburse is usually using when referring to paying out a type of currency. For example, your boss disburses bonus checks every Christmas. Isn't that nice?
Winston Churchill said, "The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see." Which word is commonly used in place of farther?
Winston Churchill was an interesting individual that a lot of people are still enamored with today. A little known fact is that in 1953, Winston Churchill won a Nobel Prize in Literature. Imagine that!
This word is an item that is made of wood, but sounds like something a painter will use. Which word is it?
I know you were thinking of palette, but that is the object a painter uses. Pallet is the wooden structure often used to transport heavy things. It is also referred to as a make-shift bed. Like the pallets you slept on at slumber parties as a kid.
Here's an interesting fact. Your reading this question right now! Here's another fact. There's a commonly misused word in the second sentence.
The beautiful your and you're. Most of the confusion is a result of the phonetics of each word. Newsflash, they sound exactly the same! Just remember that in you're, the apostrophe is taking the place of an "A."
"Piqued my interest" is a phrase I'm sure we've all used. Which word below is commonly misused for piqued?
This might be a surprise, but pique is the correct word to use in this phrase. Pique means to stimulate or excite. I'm sure some of the interesting facts in this quiz have piqued your interest once or twice or 26 times.
Which commonly used phrase means to make something work, but is often confused with making something owed?
The full phrase is when life gives you lemons, you make do and make lemonade. Under capitalism, it seems like all of the 99% is making do, while the 1% hoards the vast majority of wealth. At least we've got lemonade?
Let's see if you can fill in the empty word below. A lot of people share similar tastes and flavor ____, but our tongue print is as unique as our fingerprint.
It's true, everyone has a unique tongue print just like a fingerprint or a snowflake. No two are the same. It's highly unlikely that the FBI will have a record of your tongue print, but your dentist might.