Understanding Confusing Words – Part 2

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020


In the Understanding Confusing Words – Part 1, we discussed confusing words. As discussed Learning New Words – Why, How and Strategies, these words are not directly related to CAT prep for the vocab section or for any MBA exam (so don’t expect direct questions based on these words) but knowing the right words and the correct usage will make your job much easier while attempting questions.

Let us extend the list with a few more words.

Prescribe vs. Proscribe – These similar sounding words have very different meanings. Prescribe is the more common word, and it’s often used at the doctor’s office. For e.g. If physicians want to help their patients, they need to prescribe affordable medicines.

Proscribe means to forbid something or to demand a stop to it. It’s often used in the phrase “a proscribed organization,” such as a terrorist group. For e.g Laws in some European nations proscribe and even criminalize various forms of ‘hate speech

Ingenious vs. Ingenuous – Both ingenious and ingenuous are adjectives. Ingenious indicates cleverness or intelligence, while ingenuous refers to sincerity or a naive nature.

When you say ingenious out loud, it sounds like a combination of the words in and genius. Since a genius is an intelligent person, you can use that part of the word to associate ingenious with intelligence. You can use the word to describe things you think are really smart ideas, like “What an ingenious design!” It’s also great for describing smart people: “She’s an ingenious designer.”

Ingenuous can be used to mean sincere or candid. It’s also another way of saying naive or unsophisticated.

Libel vs. Slander – Libel and slander are both types of defamation. Defamation is the act of making negative statements that hurt another person’s reputation.

Libel is written, published, or broadcast defamation, while slander refers to spoken defamatory statements.

Slander describes spoken defamatory statements. The term applies to in-person interactions, like standing inside a restaurant and shouting false accusations about its sanitary conditions. Slander is harder to prove.

You can see also: CAT 2021 Latest News

Loathe vs. Loath – The definition of loathe is to feel intense dislike or disgust for someone or something. For e.g. I loathe reality television or At the beginning of each week, I am reminded of how much I loathe Monday mornings.

Loath is defined as unwilling or reluctant, disinclined. For e.g. The coach seemed loath to complimenting his players, fearing it would fuel their egos.

If you are loath to do something, you are reluctant to do it. If you loath something, you hate it. You can remember that loathe is the verb because it ends in a t-h-e as do the verbs breathe, bathe, and clothe.

Alternately vs. Alternatively – Alternate means following by turns, one after the other or a substitute. The adverb form is alternately. For e.g. The captains alternately chose players for their respective teams.

Alternative refers to or implies a choice between two things. As a noun, it refers to the other choice. The adverb form is alternatively. For e.g. If the flight is grounded, our alternative is to travel by train.

Imply vs. Infer – To imply is to hint at something. For e.g. By their very definition, flea markets imply cheap prices for used and unwanted items.

You can see also: Online CAT 2021 Preparation

Infer is on the receiving end of imply. To infer is to gather, deduce, or figure out. For e.g. Women are better at inferring feelings from images of just the eyes.

Assent vs. Ascent – I am sure you know about American and British accents. So let’s focus on how ascent and ascent are different from each other.

Ascent means the act of rising or moving upward or an upward slope. It’s the opposite of descent. For e.g. The ascent up the mountain was long and treacherous.

Assent means agreement. Assent may also be used as a verb meaning to agree. For e.g. Before we proceed with construction, we need to reach assent on an action plan.

Vain vs. Vein vs. Vane – Vain, vane, and vein are all homophones. But none can be substituted for any other without altering the meaning of the sentence.

A person who is vain may be obsessed with his own appearance or think very highly of his abilities. For e.g. She is so vain; she thinks every song is about her.

It can also mean producing no results; useless. For e.g To die in vain

Vein, on the other hand, refers to blood vessels that return blood to the heart. Vane is short for weathervane, which is a device which spins to show the direction of the wind.

Both vein and vane are nouns. Just remember – when you want to discuss a quality, use vain.

You can see also: Debunking myths about XAT and other MBA entrance exams

Avenge vs. Revenge – Avenge is a word that connotes a pursuit of justice for someone other than one’s self. It suggests punishing a person when someone is looking to vindicate someone else other than himself or herself—or is serving the ends of justice. For e.g. We will avenge your son’s death. The victim was avenged after the shooter was sentenced.

Revenge is a more personal form of vengeance and is usually centers around feelings of anger and resentment. For e.g. He was so blinded by a desire to get revenge or It was difficult not to be overwhelmed by feelings or hate and revenge.

Avenge is a word broadly concerned with inflicting a punishment or penalty in the pursuit of justice. Revenge is a word broadly concerned with inflicting harm or punishment for personal retaliation.

Counsel vs. Council – A council is meeting for discussion or advice, but to counsel is a verb meaning to give advice.

Council is a group of people who get together to figure something out, or a group chosen to give advice, like a student council.

As a noun, counsel is a synonym for advice, but it can also mean the act of giving that advice or refer to a person who gives legal advice. In fact, a lawyer who goes to trial for you is your counsel.

If you need a verb or a lawyer, use counsel. If you are referring to a meeting or group, use council.

Reign vs. Rein – Reign means to rule or to possess supreme power over something or someone. For e.g. Queen Elizabeth I reigned over England between 1558 to 1603.

Rein as a noun refers to a leather strap used to control the horse. As a verb, to rein means to check or guide a horse using the reins. If you recall all the filmy scenes where the hero pulls the reins and the horses is up on its hind legs before the hero proceeds for the final face-off with the villain. (Hopefully, you will now remember ‘rein’ for a long time)

Complimentary vs. Complementary – To complement, means to complete or supplement something. If you remember your elementary quant for your MBA exams, you may remember complementary angles which are two angles the sum of which is 90 degrees. This should give you some intuition about complementary.

To compliment is to offer praise to or admiration. This could be in the form of words or actions. You might compliment someone on her dance moves, for example. “Your moonwalk is perfect!” is a compliment.

So this is the end of the second post. We will have one more part on Confusing Words in which we will talk about another set of words and more importantly, discuss tips on how to actually remember these words which will help in CAT and other MBA exams.(and not just skim through blog posts and conveniently forget these words)

Until then, I leave you with this joke: A man walked into a bar after a long day at work. As he began to drink his beer, he heard a voice say “You’ve got great hair!” The man looked around but couldn’t see where the voice was coming from, so he went back to his beer.

A minute later, he heard the same soft voice say “You’re a handsome man!” The man looked around but still couldn’t see where the voice was coming from.

The man was so baffled by this that he asked the bartender what was going on. The bartender said, “Oh, it’s the peanuts – they’re complimentary.”

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CAT Exam 2018 Questions from Verbal Ability – Odd One Out

Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q1: Displacement in Bengal is thus not very significant in view of its magnitude.
Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q2: In many cases time inconsistency is what prevents our going from intention to action.
Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q3: Translators are like bumblebees.
Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q4: As India looks to increase the number of cities, our urban planning must factor in potential natural disasters and work out contingencies in advance.?
Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q5: Much has been recently discovered about the development of songs in birds.?
Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q6: Our smartphones can now track our diets, our biological cycles, even our digestive systems and sleep-patterns.?

CAT Exam 2018 Questions from Verbal Ability – Summary

Verbal Ability – Summary – Q1: The conceptualization of landscape as a geometric object first occurred in Europe and is historically related to the European conceptualization of the organism, particularly the human body, as a geometric object with parts having a rational, three-dimensional organization and integration.
Verbal Ability – Summary – Q2: Production and legitimation of scientific knowledge can be approached from a number of perspectives.
Verbal Ability – Summary – Q3: Artificial embryo twinning is a relatively low-tech way to make clones. As the name suggests, this technique mimics the natural process that creates identical twins. In nature, twins form very early in development when the embryo splits in two.
Verbal Ability – Summary – Q4: A Japanese government panel announced that it recommends regulating only genetically modified organisms that have had foreign genes permanently introduced into their genomes and not those whose endogenous genes have been edited.
Verbal Ability – Summary – Q5: Should the moral obligation to rescue and aid persons in grave peril, felt by a few, be enforced by the criminal law?
Verbal Ability – Summary – Q6: The early optimism about sport’s deterrent effects on delinquency was premature as researchers failed to find any consistent relationships between sports participation and deviance.?

CAT Exam 2018 Questions from Verbal Ability – Parajumbles

Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q1: The eventual diagnosis was skin cancer and after treatment all seemed well.
Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q2: Impartiality and objectivity are fiendishly difficult concepts that can cause all sorts of injustices even if transparently implemented.
Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q3: But now we have another group: the unwitting enablers.
Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q4: The woodland’s canopy receives most of the sunlight that falls on the trees.
Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q5: Self-management is thus defined as the ‘individual’s ability to manage the symptoms, treatment, physical and psychosocial consequences and lifestyle changes inherent in living with a chronic condition’.
Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q6: It was his taxpayers who had to shell out as much as $1.6bn over 10 years to employees of failed companies.?
Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q7: They would rather do virtuous side projects assiduously as long as these would not compel them into doing their day jobs more honourably or reduce the profit margins.?
Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q8: In the era of smart world, however, ‘Universal Basic Income’ is an ineffective instrument which cannot address the potential breakdown of the social contract when large swathes of the population would effectively be unemployed.?

CAT Exam 2018 Questions from Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension – Set 1: Everybody pretty much agrees that the relationship between elephants and people has dramatically changed,” [says psychologist Gay] Bradshaw.
Reading Comprehension – Set 2: The only thing worse than being lied to is not knowing you’re being lied to. It’s true that plastic pollution is a huge problem, of planetary proportions.
Reading Comprehension – Set 3: [The] Indian government [has] announced an international competition to design a National War Memorial in New Delhi, to honour all of the Indian soldiers who served in the various wars and counter-insurgency campaigns from 1947 onwards.
Reading Comprehension – Set 4: When researchers at Emory University in Atlanta trained mice to fear the smell of almonds (by pairing it with electric shocks), they found, to their consternation, that both the children and grandchildren of these mice were spontaneously afraid of the same smell.
Reading Comprehension – Set 5: Economists have spent most of the 20th century ignoring psychology, positive or otherwise. But today there is a great deal of emphasis on how happiness can shape global economies, or — on a smaller scale — successful business practice.
Reading Comprehension – Set 6: NOT everything looks lovelier the longer and closer its inspection. But Saturn does. It is gorgeous through Earthly telescopes.
Reading Comprehension – Set 7: More and more companies, government agencies, educational institutions and philanthropic organisations are today in the grip of a new phenomenon: ‘metric fixation’.
Reading Comprehension – Set 8: The complexity of modern problems often precludes any one person from fully understanding them.
Reading Comprehension – Set 9: Grove snails as a whole are distributed all over Europe, but a specific variety of the snail, with a distinctive white-lipped shell, is found exclusively in Ireland and in the Pyrenees mountains that lie on the border between France and Spain. ?
Reading Comprehension – Set 10: Will a day come when India’s poor can access government services as easily as drawing cash from an ATM?

CAT Exam 2017 Questions from Verbal Ability – Odd One Out

Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q1: Over the past fortnight, one of its finest champions managed to pull off a similar impression.
Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q2: Although we are born with the gift of language, research shows that we are surprisingly unskilled when it comes to communicating with others.
Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q3: The water that made up ancient lakes and perhaps an ocean was lost.
Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q4: Neuroscientists have just begun studying exercise’s impact within brain cells — on the genes themselves.
Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q5: People who study children’s language spend a lot of time watching how babies react to the speech they hear around them.

CAT Exam 2017 Questions from Verbal Ability – Summary

Verbal Ability – Summary – Q1: Both Socrates and Bacon were very good at asking useful questions. In fact, Socrates is largely credited with corning up with a way of asking questions, ‘the Socratic method/ which itself is at the core of the ‘scientific method, ‘popularised by Bacon.
Verbal Ability – Summary – Q2: North American walnut sphinx moth caterpillars (Amorpha juglandis) look like easy meals for birds, but they have a trick up their sleeves—they produce whistles that sound like bird alarm calls
Verbal Ability – Summary – Q3: For each of the past three years, temperatures have hit peaks not seen since the birth of meteorology, and probably not for more than 110,000 years.
Verbal Ability – Summary – Q4: A translator of literary works needs a secure hold upon the two languages involved, supported by a good measure of familiarity with the two cultures.
Verbal Ability – Summary – Q5: To me, a “classic” means precisely the opposite of what my predecessors understood.

CAT Exam 2017 Questions from Verbal Ability – Parajumbles

Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q1: This has huge implications for the health care system as it operates today, where depleted resources and time lead to patients rotating in and out of doctor’s offices
Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q2: Before plants can take life from atmosphere, nitrogen must undergo transformations similar to ones that food undergoes in our digestive machinery.
Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q3: The implications of retelling of Indian stories, hence, takes on new meaning in a modern India.
Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q4: This visual turn in social media has merely accentuated this announcing instinct of ours, enabling us with easy-to-create, easy-to-share, easy-to-store and easy-to-consume platforms, gadgets and apps.
Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q5: The study suggests that the disease did not spread with such intensity, but that it may have driven human migrations across Europe and Asia.
Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q6: Scientists have for the first time managed to edit genes in a human embryo to repair a genetic mutation, fuelling hopes that such procedures may one day be available outside laboratory conditions.
Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q7: The process of handing down implies not a passive transfer, but some contestation in defining what exactly is to be handed down.

CAT Exam 2017 Questions from Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension – Set 1: Typewriters are the epitome of a technology that has been comprehensively rendered obsolete by the digital age.
Reading Comprehension – Set 2: The end of the age of the internal combustion engine is in sight. There are small signs everywhere
Reading Comprehension – Set 3: During the frigid season…it’s often necessary to nestle under a blanket to try to stay warm.
Reading Comprehension – Set 4: Creativity is at once our most precious resource and our most inexhaustible one.
Reading Comprehension – Set 5: Do sports mega events like the summer Olympic Games benefit the host city economically?
Reading Comprehension – Set 6: Scientists have long recognized the incredible diversity within a species.
Reading Comprehension – Set 7: This year alone, more than 8,600 stores could close, according to industry estimates, many of them the brand -name anchor outlets that real estate developers once stumbled over themselves to court.
Reading Comprehension – Set 8: I used a smartphone GPS to find my way through the cobblestoned maze of Geneva’s Old Town, in search of a handmade machine that changed the world more than any other invention.
Reading Comprehension – Set 9: Understanding where you are in the world is a basic survival skill, which is why we, like most species come hard-wired with specialized brain areas to create congnitive maps of our surroundings.

Other posts related to Verbal Ability

What Sherlock Holmes can teach you about Parajumbles in CAT
Tips and Tricks to Solve Para-Jumble Questions for CAT Exam
4 Rules to Crack the Paragraph Completion questions in the CAT
Let Sherlock Holmes help you solve Sentence Exclusion questions in CAT
Fact Inference Judgement – Tips to Solve FIJ Questions in CAT
How to solve problem on Syllogism in CAT Exam
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Online Coaching Course for CAT 2021 + Test Series

a) 1000+ Videos covering entire CAT syllabus
b) 2 Live Classes (online) every week for doubt clarification
c) Study Material & PDFs for practice and understanding
d) 10 Mock Tests in the latest pattern
e) Previous Year Questions solved on video

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