Can you identify these commonly misused words? Prove it!


By: Staff

5 Min Quiz

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About This Quiz

Do you consider yourself a proud member of the grammar police? Are you the person on social media that corrects everyone's use of the English language? If so, then this is the quiz for you. But how good are you really? You can't call yourself a true grammar expert unless you can correctly name each of these 35 commonly misused words. Ready to prove you can do it? Let's get started.

So, which commonly misused words get your blood boiling? For us, it's the confusion between words such as their, they're, and there. Seriously, why do so many people have so much trouble using these three little words correctly? Sure, we understand that, in some, rather rare, instances, autocorrect is to blame, but let's get real... the problem is that many people need to go back to elementary English. 

Yes, we're venting, but let's analyze these words. The word "their" signals possession; the word "they're" is a contraction that combines the words "they" and "are;" and the word "there" indicates placement. It's that simple. But, you already know that, don't you? That's why you're here to take this quiz.

Well, we challenge you to answer each of these questions correctly. You won't win a prize, but you'll get bragging rights, and that means a lot, right?

Let's get started.

Lawrence was so __________ after the motivational speech that he went for a jog when he got home.

"Enervated" and "energized" are often used interchangeably for some reason, but they're actually opposites.


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.


__________ of what you think should happen, we're still going ahead with the renovation.

"Irregardless" seems to be gaining a foothold in the language, but it's not a word. Just say "regardless."


On __________, I refuse to buy from any cosmetics company that tests on animals.

"Principle" always refers to a rule or belief.


Rebecca went shopping for some __________ outfits to wear on her work trip.

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.


I'm done with the job for all __________, but I haven't had my exit interview yet.

It sounds like "intensive purposes," but it's "intents and purposes."


Tom wasn't too upset that Amy had been fired. He had never really liked her __________.

Always "anyway," never "anyways." Ever.


I'm not under any __________ that our plane will actually leave on time tonight.

An allusion is an indirect reference. An illusion is a misguided perception or belief.


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.


She was clearly __________ to the fact that she lost her job last week.

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.


__________ never going to win that race if you don't start training.

"You're" = "you are," and never anything else.


She had never been so happy as when she finally __________ that heavy suitcase down on the floor.

"Lay" requires a direct object: You lay something down. "Laid" is the past tense of "lay."


My grandparents __________ here from Ireland.

"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.


Taylor had a/an __________ expression on her face when she heard the joke — it was pretty funny.

Amused means displaying amusement ; bemused means bewildered or confused.


The teacher's pointed questions failed to __________ any answers from the class.

"Illicit" is an adjective referring to going against morals or rules. "Elicit" is a verb meaning to draw out or evoke.


The __________ moment in the movie came when the hero was dangling from a bridge.

"Climactic" is for the climax, or high point. "Climatic" refers to the climate.


The soldier was __________ at dawn the day after he was convicted of murder.

In general, "hung" is for inanimate objects, like curtains and coats, and "hanged" is for people.


I'll give you some money __________ your tuition if you get good grades this semester.

"Towards" is never the correct answer.


I'm going to __________ down in bed and take a nice, long nap.

Again, "lay" requires a direct object: You lay something down. "Lie" does not require a direct object: You lie down in bed.


The __________ quilt looked lovely in the master bedroom.

"Simplistic" actually means "overly or naively simple," like a simplistic explanation or a simplistic view of life. A quilt is just simple.


The child's tantrum had absolutely no __________ on his mother. She just took his hand and quietly led him out of the store.

When we're talking about nouns, "effect" is a change that resulted from some kind of action. "Affect" is a person's emotional demeanor.


The __________ of New York is Albany.

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.


We've decided to pay down the __________ of our mortgage instead of going on vacation this summer.

"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.


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."


I'm __________ of that mean-looking dog next door. It could be nice, but you never know.

"Weary" means tired. "Wary" and "leery" are synonyms meaning suspicious or watchful.


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).


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.


Lisa said she __________ if Tony went to the party with another girl. They had broken up weeks ago.

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.


The Empire State Building is taller __________ the Chrysler Building.

"Than" is for comparison, and "then" tells when.


Don't __________ the rules: __________ __________ for your protection.

"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.


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