Test your knowledge of some of the tricky pairs and groups of words that are common in the English language. For each sentence, choose the correct word or words from those in brackets. Answers and explanations can be found at the end of the quiz. If you have trouble with any of these words, feel free to contact the English Island in Atlanta for individually tailor ESL classes.
1. [What / which] should I do to celebrate Christmas?
2. It might be hard to get a ticket to the Nutcracker. [Only a few / quite a few] tickets were still available when I bought mine yesterday.
3. Maria [already / yet / still] hasn’t seen It’s a Wonderful Life.
4. Pierre will be [coming / going] to visit us in Atlanta next month.
5. The charity event [raised / rose] over $100,000 to help the homeless.
6. We haven’t seen our grandparents [during / while / for / since] last Thanksgiving.
7. She always sits [close / near] to the fire on Christmas Eve.
8. Emily is [fairly / pretty] certain it will take at least a week to implement all of the changes that the client requested.
Answers and explanations:
- Answer: what
Explanation: What is used to ask for general information while which is used to show that there is a choice.
- Answer: only a few
Explanation: Only a few means “not many,” and quite a few means “ many.” Because the speaker indicates that tickets may not be available, we can assume that there are only a few left.
- Answer: still
Explanation: Still conveys the idea of “up to and continuing through a particular time.” As of the time of writing this blog, Maria has not seen the movie. Already and yet mean “by or before now.”
- Answer: coming
Explanation: Come expresses movement towards the speaker while go expresses movement away from the speaker. The speakers reside in Atlanta, so Pierre is coming to visit them.
- Answer: raised
Explanation: We need a transitive verb, such as raised, to take the object “over $100,000.” Rose, a form of rise, is intransitive and cannot take an object.
- Answer: since
Explanation: Since is used with a specific point in time (“since 2015, since Christmas”). For is used to express an amount of time (“for two years”). During and while both mean “through a period of time.”
- Answer: close
Explanation: While close and near both indicate proximity, only close can be followed by “to.”
- Answer: fairly
Explanation: Fairly and pretty can both mean “not completely.” However, pretty should not be used in business writing. Because the speaker is discussing changes requested by a client, we can assume the sentence is from a piece of business correspondence.