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Frequently Confused Words 2

This is an exercise that will help you learn the differences between frequently confused words. We call them "Frequently Confused Words" sentence completion exercises because the key thing to learn here is the appropriate context in which you should use these words. Sometimes you can use both words, but one answer is more appropriate to use in that context. For other sentences, one word is the only possible answer. The explanations at the bottom of each page will clarify all of the answers if you're not sure about certain sentences.

1. The list of _____ is on the last page of the menu.


a. beverages


b. drinks



2. Do you have any ____ for Friday night?


a. strategies


b. plans


3. I have two ____ in my house.


a. restrooms


b. bathrooms



4. The telegraph is _____ technology.

a. obsolete


b. old


5. Wow! That's an ___ book.



a. old


b. elderly


6. Hey, mom! Are there any _____ in the refrigerator? 

a. beverages


b. drinks



7. The general's ____ failed, and the army lost the battle. 


a. strategy


b. plan

8. I threw out my ____ shoes.



a. obsolete


b. old



9. The restaurant's ______ is down the hall and to the left.


a. restroom


b. bathroom


10. After school I go to a nursing home and read the newspaper to an _____ man. 


a. elderly


b. old


An explanation of the answers:


1. If you had trouble with number 1, don't worry! Both "beverages" and "drinks" are acceptable answers. The important thing to remember is that the word "beverage" is used infrequently outside of stores and restaurants. In most cases, the word "beverage" is used in writing, most often on menus. This is why "beverage" is the more appropriate word here. 


2. "Strategy" and "plan" certainly have similar meanings as well. The main difference between the two is that "strategy" is a plan with a long term goal. It is most often used in the business world and in the military. Since going out on the weekend is not done for any overall aim, "plans" is the correct answer for number 2. 


3. The difference between "restroom" and "bathroom" is that a restroom is a toilet in a public space, and a bathroom is a toilet in a home. Sometimes bathrooms have an actual bath and sometimes they do not (In real estate, a bathroom without a bath or shower is sometimes called a half-bathroom). Since number 3 is about toilets in a house, the correct answer is "bathroom."


4. In English, the word "obsolete" refers to something that is no longer in use. "Old," on the other hand, is the general word for something that is not new. Therefore, while the telegraph might be old, obsolete is the more appropriate word to use in this context.


5. Number 5 is also about old things, and the answer is clear-cut. "Elderly" is the word used to describe old people--and it's a good word to know because it is more polite to say "elderly" instead of "old" when referring to people! Since a book is a thing and not a person, "old" is the correct answer here.


6. When speaking to your mom at home, it is much more common and appropriate to use the word "drink" instead of "beverage." Yes, the two words have pretty much the same meaning, but "beverage" is only used in commercial environments like stores and restaurants. 


7. Since number 7 is about a general in battle, "strategy" is the better word to use here. "Plan" could be used since it is a general word for thinking about what you will do ahead of time, but, in this context, "strategy" is more appropriate.


8. Shoes may go out of style, but they are not usually considered "obsolete." The general technology of the shoe has been around for a long time, and it's unlikely to change anytime soon. That is why "old" is the correct answer here.


9. Since number 9 is about a toilet in a public place, "restroom" is the correct answer.


10. In the English language it is much more polite and considerate to say "elderly man" instead of "old man." That is why "elderly" is the appropriate word in number 10.

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