Whether you're a self-proclaimed grammar nazi or use the phrase "intensive purposes", there are still some words that confuse us all. Some all too common mistakes have found their way to memes and mugs like the notorious "you're" v. "your" argument. However, there are still several oft-misused terms that have not reached a high level of awareness. Ask someone to discuss the proper uses of "lie" v. "lay" and you'll find that a quick Google search is a safer bet than asking the average person.
Some people might pick up on pop culture references like Alanis Morissette's incorrect use of "ironic", or on everyday references like the popular "irregardless", which somehow lives on despite the fact that it's not a real word. This quiz is a chance for you to test your own knowledge and learn something along the way.
Are you unsure of the difference between "affect" and "effect"? Do you use "enervate" and "energize" interchangeably? Do you ever find yourself using "bemused" even if you're not exactly sure what it means? Take this quiz to and get these answers and more.
I'm done with the job for all __________, but I haven't had my exit interview yet.
intents and purposes
It sounds like "intensive purposes," but it's "intents and purposes."
The capital of New York is Albany — "capital" is for cities (and money matters). "Capitol" always refers to a building, and "Capitol" with a capital C refers to the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
Justin was __________ by the fireworks; he'd seen better pyrotechnics.
This is a controversial one. "Nonplussed" means "stunned or bewildered." But so many people use it to mean "unimpressed" that grammarians say the word is transforming. It's a tough call, but we're saying "unimpressed" is the correct word here.
It's so __________ that it rained on their wedding day.
Rain on your wedding day, or a free ride when you've already paid, are not ironic events. They're just unusual, unexpected or unfortunate happenings. This is not the spot to debate the many usages and definitions of irony, but most coincidences are not ironic.
We were terrified on the __________ mountain roads.
They differ by only one letter, but the meanings are very different. "Tortuous" means twisting or winding and "torturous" means "causing pain and suffering." So, tortuous roads could be torturous in some situations, but they're not the same thing.
Paul __________ an English accent every time he answered the phone.
"Affect" and "effect" are also verbs. "Affect" as a verb means "to have an influence on," "to touch someone emotionally," or "to put on a pretense." "Effect" means "to cause something to happen," or "to bring about."
"Emigrate" and "immigrate" are very similar in both spelling and meaning. When the focus of the sentence is on the place the person left, it's "emigrate." When the focus is on the place the person ended up, it's "immigrated." It's the "here" right after the verb that puts the focus on where hey wound up in this case.
When I __________ down in bed last night, I fell right asleep.
But of course it's not always so straightforward. "Lay" is also the past tense of "lie," so it's not totally true that "lay" always needs a direct object. You can also "lay" on a bed (but only in the past).
Lisa said she __________ if Tony went to the party with another girl. They had broken up weeks ago.
could care less
couldn't care less
If you want to get literal about a figure of speech, "couldn't care less" is correct. If you "could care less," you're saying that it is possible you could care even less. But if you couldn't care less, you are officially at rock bottom of caring. Lisa could not possibly care any less about Tony.