Will You Be Nonplussed After Taking Our Misused Words Quiz?

By: Alia Hoyt  | 

There are about 170,000 English language words currently in use. So, we're bound to mess up some of them. Take this quiz and find out what common words you might be misusing.
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Question 1 of 10

What does the word "nonplussed" mean?
In fact, to be nonplussed means that you're so confused you don't know how to react, but people usually use it to mean "unfazed."


Question 2 of 10

How is the word "literally" often misused?
People turn it into a simile.
It's used as a metaphor, to describe something actually impossible.
Literally means "in a literal manner or sense; exactly." So when someone says, "The flying squirrel literally scared me to death," he's using it in a metaphoric or figurative way. Because obviously if he can talk, he's not dead.
It's used to describe something that happened exactly as the speaker said.


Question 3 of 10

If you're sick and the thermometer registers higher than normal, what do you have?
a fever
Everyone has a body temperature. It's only a fever if it gets higher than 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius).
a temperature
an infection


Question 4 of 10

If you feel enervated, how are you feeling?
Though it's often used as a synonym for "energize," "enervate" really means "weaken." It originally meant "to cut the nerves or tendons," which would weaken them.


Question 5 of 10

True or false: "Irregardless" is a real word.
True. It's been in dictionaries for decades.
"Irregardless" is listed in many dictionaries and has been used informally for centuries. Although the word irks many grammarians because it's a double negative, "in this case [the 'ir' prefix] appears to function as an intensifier," Merriam-Webster wrote, which has included the word since 1934. "Remember that a definition is not an endorsement of a word's use," it added.
False. It's a double negative.
Either one. It's used so much that while it's not currently in the English dictionary, it will be there very soon.


Question 6 of 10

Which of the following means to make sure, or guarantee, that something happens?
If you insure something, you're covering it with an insurance policy. To assure someone means to take away their doubts. So, "ensure" is the correct answer here, as means to guarantee something happens.


Question 7 of 10

If you tell someone they look nice today, you're paying them a what?
"Complement" means that things go well together. You can say that someone's shirt complements their eyes, but the act of telling them so is a compliment.


Question 8 of 10

Which of these situations is ironic?
She got into a car accident immediately after passing her driver's license test with flying colors.
Most of the time, people confuse irony with coincidence. In fact, to be actually ironic the situation must be "deliberately contrary," or something that is the exact opposite of what's expected. So, a funny coincidence isn't enough to be considered ironic.
He ran into his kindergarten teacher at Target.
The hostess and I are wearing the same dress!


Question 9 of 10

Which word correctly fills in this blank: "I'm going to _____ her dinner after her surgery."
Both of these words involve transporting something. But if it's going away from you the correct word is "take." If something is coming to you, it's "bring." For example, "Please check the mail and bring it to me."
either one


Question 10 of 10

If you're feeling sick, what are you?
Nauseous means "causing nausea," whereas "nauseated" is the actual state of having nausea.


You scored:
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