Understanding Confusing Words – Part 3

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020


This is the last post in the series on confusing words. If you haven’t read them already, check out Understanding Confusing Words – Part 1 and Understanding Confusing Words – Part 2. where we have discussed a list of important words that you should know if you want to save some time in the verbal section of CAT, IIFT, XAT or any other MBA entrance exam.

In this post, we will first look at a few more words and then we will talk about how to use of the words you have learnt through these posts. Why is this important? Because skimming through blog posts will not help much. When you’re reading some question in the exam and realise ‘Oh I know this word but don’t remember what it means’ you will miss doing a thorough read up on the words we discussed. We will get to this later, first, let us discuss the words for this post and get them out the way.

Imminent vs. Eminent – Imminent means likely to occur at any moment. It refers to something that’s approaching, about to happen, or anticipated. For e.g. “While she was waiting, she one day received a letter from Tony, announcing his imminent arrival in Mumbai.

Eminent means high in station, rank, or repute. It also means prominent, or distinguished. It can describe a person, place, or thing. For example, the current PM of our country, Mr. Modi can be described as “an eminent world figure.”

Apology vs. Apologies – The phrase my apologies is an idiom, while the phrase my apology literally means my act of apologising. As an idiom, my apologies means excuses or regrets. This phrase is a way of saying you’re sorry.

The phrase ‘my apology’ is not an idiom. It only has a literal meaning. It means an act of saying you’re sorry. For example, I think you owe me an apology.

Extant vs Extent – Extant is something that’s still around — you’re surprised it’s not extinct. It’s more than just existing but also surviving when others have not. For e.g. The roots, stumps, trunks, and foliage found in bogs are recognised as belonging to still extant species.

Extent means the range of something. Extent can also refer to a degree of something, such as goal achievement. Extent is also the space something covers or takes up. You may have read the phrase to a lesser extent (not as much), or greater extent (more) to show the degree of variation. For e.g. Demonetization did not affect the urban rich to a large extent.

Contemptible vs. Contemptuous – Contempt is a noun that describes the feeling that someone is beneath you or the state of being despised.

The -ible ending means “able to.” Contemptible, then, means “able to be scorned, worthy of contempt.” For e.g. The contemptible crime of stealing a charity box resulted in a man being remanded in custody

The –ous ending means “full of,” so contemptuous means “full of contempt, showing scorn.” It refers to the person or thing showing the scorn.

Remember, then, if something is able to be scorned, it is contemptible. If someone or something is full of contempt, it is contemptuous.

Emigrate vs. Immigrate – The choice between emigrate and immigrate depends on the sentence’s point of view. Emigrate is to immigrate as go is to come.

If the sentence is looking at the point of departure, use emigrate. For e.g People are always saying there’s no quality of life here, and everyone wants to emigrate. If you are referring to the point of arrival use Immigrate. For e.g. Citizens from European Union countries were given freedom to immigrate to Switzerland in 2007.

Bonus Tip: Talking about the actual process of moving? Use migrate.

You can see also: Best Online CAT Coaching for CAT Exam 2020

Afflict vs. Inflict – If something afflicts you, it hurts. Cancer, death, arthritis or even bad skin can afflict you. For e.g. It’s also quite likely that he was afflicted with an eating disorder.

Inflict is meaner. It’s more aggressive — it actively hurts and causes problems. A self-inflicted wound is when you hurt yourself. For e.g. Some participants in the debate said the rule could unintentionally inflict economic harm on Africans.

The difference between the two is whether the emphasis is on the one suffering or the one causing the suffering. Afflict emphasises who is doing the suffering. Inflict emphasises the person or thing causing the suffering.

Climactic vs. Climatic – Climactic comes from climax. A climax is the top point of something, so something climactic describes that intense moment. Climactic is often used in the negative, anticlimactic, like when there’s a build-up to something that falls short.

Climatic refers to weather conditions. The word climatic gets thrown around a lot these days, with all the talk about global warming. For e.g. The panellists discussed the unpredictable climatic disasters that have occurred in many parts of the world.

Abhorrent vs Aberrant – Abhorrent means disgusting or detestable. When you abhor something, you loathe it. Its Latin root means, “to shudder, recoil,” which is what you do when faced with something abhorrent like a zombie.

Aberrant means unusual, straying from a defined path. It’s not necessarily nasty. If a behavior is aberrant, it’s just not normal

Biannual vs. Biennial – The difference is very simple. Biannual is something that occurs twice in a year. If you remember your Geography from school, Equinoxes are biannual; one happens in March and in September. If you want to avoid the confusion, you can use semiannual instead of biannual. Both words mean the same and semiannual makes it a little less confusing.

Biennial, on the other hand, is something that occurs every two years. For e.g. the Aero India Expo that is held in Bangalore is a biennial event.

Renounce vs Denounce – Renounce is a verb and has two main senses. The first sense of the word is to give up or relinquish (a title or possession), especially by formal announcement. For e.g Due to mounting pressure, he was forced to renounce his claim to the throne.

The second sense of the word is to declare that one will no longer engage in, adhere to, or support; to reject or disown. For e.g. Once he became sober, he renounced his old lifestyle.

Denounce could mean to condemn openly as being wrong or reprehensible. For e.g. The Prime Minister denounced the violence and called for peace.

Remember – You might renounce an old habit or lifestyle or renounce your support for something, but you denounce other people’s words or actions.

We had discussed learning strategies before, and if you have been reading this series on confusing words, you now know a lot of new words. You can use this chart below to quickly go through these new words. If you find a word you are not familiar with, look it up and also check out some sample sentences. Spaced repetition will help in retention and make it easier for you to recall the meanings when you need them during the exam.

Summary of all words discussed in this series of posts

Confusing Words by Handa Ka Funda

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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 2020
How to solve problem on Syllogism in CAT Exam
Critical Reasoning Tips – Strengthening and Weakening Arguments
How to correctly use the punctuation marks in English

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3 Steps to Improve Your Accuracy in Reading Comprehension for CAT
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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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