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.
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.
Always "anyway," never "anyways." Ever.
"Than" is for comparison, and "then" tells when.
"Illicit" is an adjective referring to going against morals or rules. "Elicit" is a verb meaning to draw out or evoke.
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.
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 guess it is possible that Rebecca wanted some outfits to be "put into use successfully," but more likely she wants "suitable" clothing for her trip.
"Irregardless" seems to be gaining a foothold in the language, but it's not a word. Just say "regardless."
"Weary" means tired. "Wary" and "leery" are synonyms meaning suspicious or watchful.
"Flaunt" means to show off, and "flout" means to break the rules. "Their" is possessive, "they're" means they are and "there" always refers to a place.
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.
An allusion is an indirect reference. An illusion is a misguided perception or belief.
Because an allusion is an indirect reference, "alluding" means to indirectly refer to something. To "elude" is to hide. And "illude" is just a fake word.
"Simplistic" actually means "overly or naively simple," like a simplistic explanation or a simplistic view of life. A quilt is just simple.
When we're talking about nouns, "effect" is a change that resulted from some kind of action. "Affect" is a person's emotional demeanor.
"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."
"Enervated" and "energized" are often used interchangeably for some reason, but they're actually opposites.
"Principal" has many meanings, including your "pal" the head of school (or the head of a business) — and the non-interest portion of a loan.
"Principle" always refers to a rule or belief.
In general, "hung" is for inanimate objects, like curtains and coats, and "hanged" is for people.
"Climactic" is for the climax, or high point. "Climatic" refers to the climate.
"Towards" is never the correct answer.
"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.
"You're" = "you are," and never anything else.
Amused means displaying amusement ; bemused means bewildered or confused.
"Lay" requires a direct object: You lay something down. "Laid" is the past tense of "lay."
Again, "lay" requires a direct object: You lay something down. "Lie" does not require a direct object: You lie down in bed.
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).
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 <i>couldn't</i> care less, you are officially at rock bottom of caring. Lisa could not possibly care any less about Tony.