Is Your Vocabulary Actually Good?

By: Monica Lee
Estimated Completion Time
5 min
Is Your Vocabulary Actually Good?
Image: ozgurdonmaz/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Sometimes just using one word incorrectly can ruin that good impression you're trying to make. To ensure that doesn't happen, you'll want to take this quiz and recall all the tricks and tips for using the correct word properly. 

You don't want an embarrassing moment like asking your host, "Can I use the restroom?" and the host answers, "I don't know, can you?" In this instance, you should have used "may" instead of  "can" because "can" implies whether it is physically possible, while "may" means you want permission. It's all about having a solid command of the language to express yourself confidently and accurately. 

Since many words are learned from context, other people may use a word loosely. Therefore, the precision of the definition might allude you. In this quiz you'll see a few of these vocabulary questions where you need the precise definition, as well as queries that ask you to find the best word to use in a sentence.  

Since the English language is constantly changing with new words and updated definitions, you'll want to take this quiz to see if you know the latest and greatest vocabulary words. 

We don't want to harassment you, but you really should take this quiz. 

When you talk about the "enormity" of the situation, what are you talking about?
Huge, enormous in a negative way.
Profoundly immoral or evil.
Normal, as in common.
A & B
There are two meanings. One definition is that enormity means great or extreme in seriousness. The other means a grave crime or sin.

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When you think of "principle" what do you think of?
The head supervisor of a school.
A truth or belief.
First in its class.
B & C
When you're talking about principle as a noun it means a fundamental truth or belief. As an adjective, principle means first or foremost. Although it sounds the same, when spelled as principal, this word means the top supervisor of a school.

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What's the correct definition of "redundant"?
Refined
Unnecessarily excessive
Although most people think redundant means repeated, if actually means unnecessarily and excessively repeated. Another way to express it is, "It's like beating a dead horse."
Repetitive
Defined

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"She assured me the house would not flood.” What's wrong with this sentence?
Nothing
It's a little complex, but when you "assure" someone, you are promising or telling that person someone something will definitely (or will not) happen. Whereas "ensure" means to make sure of or make preparations for an occurrence." While "insure" has to do with actual insurance policies.
Substitute "assured" for "insured"
Substitute "assured" for "ensured"
Substitute "house" for "apartment"

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What does "irregardless" mean?
Caring
Hoping
Without regard
Regarding
Irregardless is listed in the dictionary since it has become a common term, however it's opposite of the word you may think you're using. Regardless means without regard. So irregardless means without, without regard. It's a double negative which means regard.

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"She practiced speaking English by reading the passage allowed." What's wrong with this sentence?
Replace "passage" with "package"
Replace "allowed" with "aloud"
The word "allowed" means to get permission, whereas "aloud" means to say it loudly and audibly; not silently or in a whisper, which is how someone might practice a language.
Replace "her" with "him"
No change needed

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What does "irony" mean?
Something that is funny
Contrary to what you are expecting
It means contrary to what you're expecting. So, for example, the Titanic was touted as being unsinkable, then it sank. That's ironic.
You need to get wrinkles out of your clothes.
You are lacking iron in your diet.

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When you say "It's a travesty." what are you trying to convey?
It's a tragedy or something unfortunate.
Someone has traveled too long.
It's a mockery or parody.
It doesn’t mean anything bad happened. It means someone is mocking or a making a parody of something. Take Weird Al Yankovic, his music is a silly parody of popular songs.
It's a fine performance.

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"He was almost a half mile further down the road than she was.” How would you correct this sentence?
I wouldn't. It's fine as is.
Substitute "along" for "down"
Substitute "farther" for "further"
The word "farther" is used to talk about a difference that can be measured. Whereas "further" refers to something that can't be measured or is abstract. For instance, “The crisis was bound to do further damage in the years to come."
Substitute "mile" for "lap"

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Which of these is the correct usage for "ultimate" as an adjective? Tricky, tricky.
A sacrifice
A final demand
The last item of a list
You have to know your parts of speech in order to answer this correctly. You could substitute the word "ultimate" for "finally" as in "At the store we need eggs, milk, juice, and ultimately, butter.” As a noun, it means the best.
The tallest

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"There are less and less fish in the sea." What changes would you make to this sentence?
Substitute "fish" for "fishes"
Substitute "sea" for "river"
Substitute "less and less" with "fewer and fewer"
Use fewer when referring to items you can count, like "fewer fish" or "fewer dollars." Use "less" when referring to items you can't count, like "less sand" or "less air."
Fine as is.

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You may not use "peruse" very much, but if you do, which one is the correct meaning?
To have a conversation
To skim or browse
To observe in depth
When you peruse something, you are actually taking a very close look at it. It's not a glance, it's more of a study.
To ignore

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"I can't wait to eat desert, I don't even want to finish my dinner." How would you change this sentence to correct it?
Replace "desert" with "dessert"
If you ever get mixed up with which word is a barren land and which is a sweet treat, just remember that desserts are so sweet they have an extra "s".
Replace "can't" with "can"
There is nothing wrong with the sentence.
Replace "eat" with "polish"

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"I was averse to paying $4 a bottle for plain, old tap water." How would you correct this sentence?
It is correct as is.
It's fine as is, since averse describes feeling of dislike or opposition. If you chose to substitute averse with "adverse" you would be wrong since adverse means harmful or unfavorable.
Substitute "adverse" for "averse"
Substitute "ol'" for "old"
Substitute "tap water" for "grapefruit juice"

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Are you "bemused" with this quiz? What exactly does that mean?
Amused
Confused
Even though it looks almost identical to the word amused, that's not what it means. If you are bemused then you are actually confused.
Judged
Jealous

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"I was so mad, I was literally seeing red." How would you correct this sentence?
Take out the word "literally"
Only use this vocabulary word when it describes what is actually happening ‘in a literal manner’. When you're mad, you don't actually see red. It's an exaggeration. So the word "literally" is being used incorrectly. If you take that word out, the sentence is correct.
Change "red" to "blue"
Change "mad" to "happy"
Change "I" to "me"

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"The prize drawing is designed to illicit survey responses." How would you change this sentence.
Substitute "sweepstakes" for "prize drawing"
Substitute "elicit" for "illicit"
"Elicit" means to draw out or coax and is the correct word to use in the above sentence. "Illicit" means illegal or unlawful,
Keep as is.
Take out the word "survey"

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If you're "compelled" to do something, what does that mean?
You are scared about the situation.
You are upset about the situation.
You are forced or obligated to do something.
Although most people use it to substitute for the word "yearn' or "crave" it really means "forced" or "obligated" Here's an example: "After reaching the age of 18, he was compelled by law to register for the army."
You are doing something voluntarily by choice.

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“She decided to wear a historical costume for the Renaissance fair." How would you correct this sentence?
Replace "historical" with "historic"
Replace "Renaissance fair" with "Shakespearean play"
The sentence is fine as is.
Historic means “famous,” whereas historical means “related to history.” So this sentence is correct just as written. No changes needed.
Replace "wear" with "parade"

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This one includes the archaic meaning. What does "terrific" mean?
Causing terror
Causing lethargy
Fantastic, good
A & C
When people say they feel terrific, they mean to say they feel fantastic. But the archaic meaning is horrific or to inspire fear. An example of something terrific is a vampire. You see blood and fangs and it inspires fear and terror.

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It's a slight difference, but if you want to use the word "nauseous" correctly, you should know what it really means. Which one is right?
To cause feelings of illness
You're not quite ill, yet. That's what "nauseous" means. If you actually feel sick then you are nauseated. Two words describe two different stages of sickness.
To feel ill
To vomit
To faint

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This one is the bane of our existence. What does "effect" really mean?
An event that causes a change
Because "affect" and "effect" get mixed up all the time, most people use "impact" to make sure the idea is conveyed properly. But if you're a stickler for good grammar, remember it this way: If it’s a noun, it’s an effect. If it’s a verb, it’s an affect.
To cause something to change
To infect someone with a disease
To detect a characteristic or trait

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"How did you loose your phone and your keys?" How would you change this sentence to make it correct?
It's fine as is.
Replace "phone" with "cell"
Add "fob" after "key" to make it "key fob"
Replace "loose" with "lose"
It's easy to confuse loose and lose because they sound similar. However, "loose" means that something is not firmly or tightly held in place. Whereas "lose" means being unable to find something, or no longer possessing it.

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You better not be "disinterested" in this quiz. What does that word really mean?
Bored
Upset
Neutral
Disinterested means neutral. In other words you don’t care either way about something. If you're bored, you are uninterested. We do hope you care about this quiz!
Anxious

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"Although we were going to town, we didn't have to dress nicely and could wear our everyday shoes." How would you change this sentence?
Substitute "town for "the mall"
Substitute "Although" for "However"
Substitute "everyday shoes" for "every day shoes"
Don't change a thing.
Leave as is, since "everyday" means commonplace or normal, whereas "every day" means just that, each and every day.

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When you think of "chronic," what should come to mind?
Confusing
Severe
Silly
Over a long period of time
Chronic conditions and diseases are called chronic because they won’t go away and not because they’re overly severe and painful.

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"I wanted to complement your staff on the excellent service I received." How would you correct this sentence?
Substitute "was given" for "received"
Substitute "staff" for "members of your staff"
Substitute "compliment" for "complement"
Compliment means to say something nice. Whereas complement means added to, enhanced, improved, completed or brought close to perfection.
Leave as is.

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Are you using "i.e." properly? What does it actually mean?
For example
In other words
Admittedly, this is confusing. So we'll spell it out. The initials "i.e." mean in other words. When you use "i.e." you’re about to state the same information in different words.
Per
BTW

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Just to add to your knowledge, we are looking for the common and the historical definition. What does "decimate" mean?
To destroy or annihilate, and decipher
To destroy or annihilate, and decide
To destroy or annihilate, and destroy one in every ten
Today decimate means to kill, destroy or remove a large percentage or a remove a part of something. In historical times, to decimate was to kill one in every ten of a group of soldiers or others, as a punishment for the whole group.
To destroy or annihilate, and declare

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What's your best guess on this one? What does "panacea" mean?
A cure
A cure for a lot of things
A mother's kiss on a skinned knee, on a feverish forehead or on any bumps or bruises is a panacea for whatever ails a toddler. It means it can cure a lot of things, not just a single, particular problem.
A kind of bread
A disease

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How do you define "plethora"?
More than is needed
If you were criticizing the bureaucracy of the government, you might say there is a plethora of committees and subcommittees, meaning there are more committees than necessary to create and monitor laws.
Just enough
Less than is needed
A lot of something but it's needed

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For this one, it's the precision of the definition. What does "defective" mean?
That something is broken or missing pieces
That something is broken
Thanks to Amazon reviews, people are using this word incorrectly by saying their product was defective because it was missing a screw or other part. The product may work perfectly once the missing piece has been restored, therefore the product was NOT defective.
That something is unwieldy
Something is slow-moving.

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What does "unwieldy" mean?
Difficult to carry or move because of its size, shape, or weight
A system or bureaucracy that is too big or badly organized to function efficiently
A large and scary weapon
A & B
If you don't use a word often, you might be a bit foggy recalling the precise definition. Use unwieldy to describe an unproductive system or a hard-to-transport item.

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When you think of "obsolete," what comes to mind?
Someone who is inconsolable
Someone who is obsessed
Not produced, used, or needed
The literal definition of obsolete is an item that it isn’t produced, needed or used anymore. Obsolete is kind of the next step after old and out of date, when it's no longer produced.
Old, out of date

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"I use course sandpaper to remove large imperfections in the wood." How would you change this sentence to make it logical?
Replace "course" with "coarse"
These two words sound similar and are spelled almost the same, with only one letter that is different. But it makes a big difference because "coarse" means rough as in an uneven surface that is unpleasant to touch. Whereas "course" has many meanings including a meal, a track, a direction or route.
Replace "imperfections" with "perfections"
Replace "wood" with "board"
The sentence is fine as is.

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