You can find the first part of the confusing word pairs [1 - 25] here and the second part [26 - 51] here.


26. Descent vs Dissent

Descent (n.)

The action of coming down.

When the plane begins the descent, the Wifi will not be working.

Dissent (n.)

The fact of having or expressing opinions that are different from those that are commonly accepted.

Stability is possible to be maintained in such a poor country only because dissent has been suppressed.

Crackdown on dissent - a common phrase that describes brutal efforts of authority to stop the opposition.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

With the government crackdown on descent, that attitude appears to have changed.

A. NO CHANGE
B. dissent

You can find tracks in or near every city with high quality and a steep descent.

A. NO CHANGE
B. dissent

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27. Diffuse vs Defuse

Defuse (v.)

Make a situation less dangerous or tense.

Local police are making strides to defuse the racial tension in the area.

Diffuse (v.)

Spread or distribute over a large area.

The problem with trade is that the benefits are diffused while the pain is localized.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Presidents always try to diffuse the tension between countries to avoid the wars.

A. NO CHANGE
B. defuse

We conducted the study on how the molecules diffuse through the membrane.

A. NO CHANGE
B. defuse


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28. Discreet vs Discrete

Discrete (adj.)

Separate and distinct.

The books can be divided into discrete categories: science fiction, romance, teen fiction.

Discreet (adj.)

Careful, reserved, or not easily noticed.

Digital technology means that modern hearing aids are both discreet and effective.

Memory Trick: to ensure that you know the difference between the similar spelling of discrete and discreet, remember that discrete means separate, so letters e will be separated by t: discrEtE.


Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Some villages are very small and discrete, and they are separated by woodland.

A. NO CHANGE
B. discreet


If you want to disguise yourself, you can still be discrete in a cool gym shirt.

A. NO CHANGE
B. discreet


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29. Elicit vs Illicit

Elicit (v.)

To get information or reaction from somebody.

The police could elicit no response from him.

Illicit (adj.)

Not allowed by law.

Studies have since found that only a fraction of illicit payments were revealed.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

The company used this knowledge to help illicit detailed feedback on product concepts.

A. NO CHANGE
B. elicit

Other elicit organ trafficking rings have been uncovered in some countries.

A. NO CHANGE
B. illicit



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30. Eminent vs Imminent

Eminent (adj.)

Famous and respected.

Surprisingly, no one challenged his calculations although there were some eminent mathematicians in the audience.

Eminent domain - a common phrase that denotes the right of a government to expropriate private property for public use, with payment of compensation.

This is a nonprofit law firm dedicated to fighting abuses in eminent domain cases.

Imminent (adj.)

Likely to happen very soon.

Prices have reached a floor, but this is a guarantee of an imminent bounce.


Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Written works of eminent authors have persuasive value.

A. NO CHANGE
B. imminent

The police were concerned about news of imminent arrests.

A. NO CHANGE
B. eminent

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31. Enlarge vs Exacerbate

Enlarge (v.)

Make something bigger.

Reading will enlarge your vocabulary and dexterity of thought.

Exacerbate (v.)

Make something worse, aggravate.

His sinister remark only exacerbated the situation.


Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

The painter decided to exacerbate the figure of the dog.

A. NO CHANGE
B. enlarge

Poor nutrition can actually exacerbate exhaustion.

A. NO CHANGE
B. enlarge

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32. Emigrate vs. Immigrate vs. Migrate

Emigrate (v.)

Leave one's country to live in another.

My father emigrated from Poland.

Immigrate (v.)

Come into another country to live permanently.

They immigrated to Canada in 2007.

Migrate (v.)

Move, like birds in the winter.

Many assume that dinosaurs did migrate similar to birds.

In many developed countries, people are mobile: travel and migrate from region to region.


Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

people will emigrate to the US and learn English for some time to come.

A. NO CHANGE
B. migrate

She was a generous woman who helped people to immigrate.

A. NO CHANGE
B. immigrate

Some animals emigrate in the winter.

A. NO CHANGE
B. migrate


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33. Expressive vs Dramatic

Expressive (adj.)

Effectively communicating thoughts and feelings.

Every word and gesture is expressive of the actress’ sincerity.

Dramatic (adj.)

Sudden, substantial.

The tax increase was followed by a dramatic influx of riots.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

This scene is so expressive because it shows how he died.

A. NO CHANGE
B. dramatic

Children usually use expressive language to communicate with parents.

A. NO CHANGE
B. dramatic


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34. Fair vs Fare

Fair (adj.)

Without cheating.

He demanded to receive fair treatment from the host.

Fare (v.)

To be in a particular way.

Generally the supermarket own-brand ketchups fared better than the branded ones.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

It is not fair to cheat on the test.

A. NO CHANGE
B. fare

Brazil will fair better than other nations.

A. NO CHANGE
B. fare

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35. Fewer vs Less

Fewer

Not as many - used with countable nouns.

He had fewer dollars in his pocket.


Less

Not as much - used with uncountable.

I will use less milk next time to ensure that the dough is not watery.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]


Many companies have found more efficient ways to make profits with fewer people.

A. NO CHANGE
B. less

When you cook, try to use fewer butter. It is not beneficial for your health.

A. NO CHANGE
B. less

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36. Former vs Latter

Former (adj.)

Refers to the FIRST of two per­sons or things.Must be used with the article THE.

The former option would be much more sensible.

Latter (adj.)

Refers to the sec­ond of two per­sons or things.

Red and blue are pop­u­lar col­ors, but the lat­ter is more pop­u­lar. (Blue is more popular)

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Current and former students crowded in with parents and staff.

A. NO CHANGE
B. latter

People love burgers and apples, but the former is healthier.

A. NO CHANGE
B. latter

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37. Farther vs. Further

Farther (adv.)

At a great distance.

She was exhausted and couldn’t go any farther.

Besides physical distance, farther can also refer to making a more advanced point or a greater extent.

As a family we were growing farther apart.

The money goes farther in the hands of a philanthropist.

Further (v.)

As a verb, it means to develop or make successful.

She took the new job to further her career.

REMEMBER: Even though definitions or further and farther as adverb overlap, only further can be a verb.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

The study recommends to farther research to fully understand the outcomes.

A. NO CHANGE
B. further

The destination was further than they expected.

A. NO CHANGE
B. farther


38. Formally vs. Formerly

Formally (adj.)

Officially, in refined manner.

The researchers suspended formally declaring the changes until the next year.

My nephew is a fine man, and he always behaves formally when he is around us.

Formerly (adv.)

Previously.

Our house had formerly been a hotel.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Her college formally announced that the school would be closed for 2 weeks.

A. NO CHANGE
B. formerly

She said the property formally belonged to her father but now belongs to her.

A. NO CHANGE
B. formerly


39. Forbidding vs Foreboding

Forbidding (adj.)

Dangerous task or person.

The mountain trail looked dark and forbidding, with many likely hazards.

Foreboding (n.)

Fearful apprehension.

Such a record fills one with foreboding over the choice of the first Association’s president.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Seeing the police cars sometimes carries a certain forbidding.

A. NO CHANGE
B. foreboding

Government began forbidding the gatherings due to the virus.

A. NO CHANGE
B. foreboding



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40. Foregoing vs Forgoing

Foregoing (adj.)

Going before or preceding.

They had to read the foregoing paragraphs in order to understand the conclusion.

Forgoing (v.)

Past participle of the verb forgo - to give up or do without.

I am forgoing my dessert as I am already much too full from dinner.


Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

The foregoing material contains forward-looking statements concerning the company.

A. NO CHANGE
B. forgoing

He has been foregoing buying a car, so he must have money saved up.

A. NO CHANGE
B. forgoing

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41. Foreword vs Forward

Foreword (n.)

The section at the beginning of a book.

I want to write a foreword to my memoir without being too revealing.

Forward (directional adverb)

Coming up or up ahead, opposite of backward.

They decided to move their chairs forward to see the speaker more clearly.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Forward is usually written by someone other than the primary author of the work.

A. NO CHANGE
B. Foreword

The team captain always encourages the team players to move foreword.

A. NO CHANGE
B. forward

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42. Implicit vs Complicit

Implicit (adj.)

Suggested without being directly expressed.

Big banks with implicit government guarantees benefit in all states of the world.

Complicit (adj.)

Involved in illegal activity.

Several researchers were complicit in the cover-up.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Banks and lending institutions have been implicit in this whole problem.

A. NO CHANGE
B. complicit

The Internet is a technology without an implicit purpose.

A. NO CHANGE
B. complicit



43. Implicit vs Explicit

Explicit (adj.)

Unlike implicit statements, explicit statements are clear and easy to understand.

Which point about the resources that will be highly valued in space is implicit in Passage 1 and explicit in Passage 2?

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

My boss is always very explicit in his directions that makes employees' work easier.

A. NO CHANGE
B. implicit

In a sense, the fans pay an implicit tax in the form of teams that perform worse.

A. NO CHANGE
B. explicit



44. Ingenious vs Ingenuous

While they look and sound very similar, "ingenious" indicates cleverness or intelligence, while "ingenuous" refers to sincerity or a naive nature.

Ingenious (adj.)

Very creative and inventive.

By the age of three, Eppie developed a fine capacity for mischief and for devising ingenious ways of being troublesome.

She was an ingenious cook.

Ingenuous (adj.)

Honest, innocent and willing to trust people.

Katherine's pretty face reflects each fleeting feeling with the ingenuous frankness of an uninhibited little girl.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

We always had at least one ingenious artist every decade.

A.NO CHANGE
B. ingenuous

It's not easy to believe someone, if you know she is not an ingenuous person.

A. NO CHANGE
B. ingenious



45. Imply vs Infer

Imply (v.)

Suggest without saying it directly.

Her silence appeared to imply agreement.

Infer (v.)

Deduce, decide based on available information.

I could pretty much infer the rest - just as I do with unfamiliar words in English.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

They also can imply in which geological time periods the fault was most active.

A. NO CHANGE
B. infer

So, what does our experiment imply about the effects of this medicine?

A. NO CHANGE
B. infer

Check OUT our Vocabulary Crash Course

46. Into vs in to

Into (preposition)

Position in or inside something. Often answers the question where.

After a long night, she crawled into her bed to go to sleep.

In to (two words)

Often used with a verb phrase. To do something.

I went in to eat cooking.

The firefighter ran in to save the dog.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Her mom walked in to buy some food.

A. NO CHANGE
B. into

Two men jumped into their vehicle and quickly disappeared.

A. NO CHANGE
B. in to



47. Its vs It’s

Its (a possessive form of a pronoun)

Belonging to.

Despite its massive size, it appears harmless.

It’s (two words)

A contraction of it is.

It’s late. (It is late) Much of the meaning must be inferred from the context.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

It’s so smart to start a business.

A. NO CHANGE
B. Its

My dog is so beautiful because it’s fur is high quality.

A. NO CHANGE
B. its


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48. Ladder vs Latter

Ladder (n.)

A device with rungs that can be climbed to reach high places.

We gripped the sides of the ladder and hooked it on to the window opening.

Figuratively, it can also mean a series of ascending stages.

The program is designed to encourage more workers to climb the corporate ladder.

Latter (adj.)

The second or last of something. Refer to lesson 36.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

If you can’t reach the tree, you may use the latter.

A. NO CHANGE
B. ladder

He accomplished both, and several of his players joined him in the latter quest.

A. NO CHANGE
B. ladder


49. Life’s vs Lives

Life’s (possessive form of a noun)

Belongs to life.

My life’s purpose is to start a family.

Lives (plural noun)

More than one life.

That change affected the daily lives of the city’s commuting professionals.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

She had no better answers to life's challenges than did her successful friend.

A. NO CHANGE
B. lives


Doctors’ lifes are so important for soldiers during the wars.

A. NO CHANGE
B. lives


50. Lay vs Lie

Lay (v.)

To set something or place something in a resting position.

I don’t like to lay my purse on the floor.

Dogs often lay their toys next to their water bowls.

To ensure that you are looking at Lay, insert the phrase “something down” after it. If it makes sense, the answer is Lay.

Lie (v.)

To recline or to rest in a flat position.

Cats like to lie on the sofa.

You must lie on your back to ensure that your shoulder muscles are resting.

She lies on the floor when doing pilates.

The verb to lie (to recline or rest in the flat position) has unusual verb forms that exacerbate the confusion.

Past Tense Lay: The book lay open on his desk yesterday.

Past Participle Lain: Lucy had lain down to rest when the phone rang.

Gerund Lying: I’d rather spend my money then leave it lying in the bank.

Yesterday, he lay down to sleep at ten o’clock. Tonight, he won’t lie down until midnight.

Memory Trick: to ensure that you can tell the difference between Lay and Lie in the present tense, try this mnemonic : pLAce and recLIne

(pLAce) and (recLIne)


IMPORTANT: Lay begins with the letters L-A, has a long A sound like its definition: to place. On the other hand, lie, which starts with the letters L-I, has a long I sound like its definition: to recline.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

I never lay my bag on the subway floor.

A. NO CHANGE
B. lie

I am going to let these photos lay idle before I do anything with framing.

A. NO CHANGE
B. lie


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51. Loath vs Loathe

Loath (adj.)

Reluctant or unwilling.

She was loath to try the green drink.

Loathe (v.)

Feel disgust.

She didn't want the sandwich because she loathed salami.


Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Taylor was loathe to take the important decision about her career.

A. NO CHANGE
B. loath

I used to loath reading articles, but now I love reading.

A. NO CHANGE
B. loathe

You can locate additional confusing SAT Word Pairs here: Confusing SAT Word Pairs 1-25 [ Part 1 ], Confusing SAT Word Pairs 52-75 + BONUS [ Part 3 ].


Answers:

26. B, A

With the government crackdown on dissent, that attitude appears to have changed.

You can find tracks in or near every city with high quality and a steep descent.

27. B, A

Presidents always try to defuse the tension between countries to avoid the wars.

We conducted the study on how the molecules diffuse through the membrane.

28. A, B

Some villages are very small and discrete, and theyare separated by woodland.

If you want to disguise yourself, you can still be discreet in a cool gym shirt.

29. B, B

The company used this knowledge to help elicit detailed feedback on product concepts.

Other illicit organ trafficking rings have been uncovered in some countries.

30. A, A

Written works of eminent authors have persuasive value.

The police were concerned about news of imminent arrests.

31. B,A

The painter decided to exacerbate the figure of the dog.

Poor nutrition can actually exacerbate exhaustion.

32. A, B, B

people will emigrate to the US and learn English for some time to come.

She was a generous woman who helped people to immigrate.

Some animals migrate in the winter.

33. B, A

This scene is so dramatic because it shows how he died.

Children usually use expressive language to communicate with parents.

34. A, B

It is not fair to cheat on the test.

Brazil will fare better than other nations.

35. A, B

Many companies have found more efficient ways to make profits with fewer people.

When you cook, try to use fewer butter. It is not beneficial for your health.

36. A, B

Current and former students crowded in with parents and staff.

People love burgers and apples, but the latter is healthier.

37. B, A

The study recommends to further research to fully understand the outcomes.

The destination was further than they expected.

38. A, B

Her college formally announced that the school would be closed for 2 weeks.

She said the property formerly belonged to her father but now belongs to her.

39. B, A

Seeing the police cars sometimes carries a certain foreboding.

Government began forbidding the gatherings due to the virus.

40. A, B

The foregoing material contains forward-looking statements concerning the company.

He has been forgoing buying a car, so he must have money saved up.


41. B, B

Foreword is usually written by someone other than the primary author of the work.

The team captain always encourages the team players to move forward.


42. B, A

Banks and lending institutions have been complicit in this whole problem.

The Internet is a technology without an implicit purpose.

43. A, A

My boss is always very explicit in his directions, that makes employees' work easier.

In a sense, the fans pay an implicit tax in the form of teams that perform worse.

44. A, A

We always had at least one ingenious artist every decade.

It's not easy to believe someone, if you know she is not an ingenuous person.

45. B, A

They also can infer in which geological time periods the fault was most active.

So, what does our experiment imply about the effects of this medicine?

46. A,A

Her mom walked in to buy some food.

Two men jumped into their vehicle and quickly disappeared.

47. A, B

It’s so smart to start a business.

My dog is so beautiful because its fur is high quality.

48. B, A

If you can’t reach the tree, you may use the ladder.

He accomplished both, and several of his players joined him in the latter quest.

49. A, B

She had no better answers to life's challenges than did her successful friend.

Doctors’ lives are so important for soldiers during the wars.

50. A, B

I never lay my bag on the subway floor.

I am going to let these photos lie idle before I do anything with framing.

51. B, B

Taylor was loath to take the important decision about her career.

I used to loathe reading articles, but now I love reading.


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