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This presentation is brought to you by chomp! Grammar Bytes!, ©2014 chomp! by Robin L. Simmons.

Appropriate Wor ds or Expressions in Context

Astonished? Astounded? Bewildered? Confounded? Dazed? Dazzled?

What’s the right word?

This presentation will help you distinguish between appropriate and


words or expressions for the given context.

On an objective test, an item evaluating the skill might look like this . . .

Sample Item
When Lawrence stuck French fries up his nose, we shouted, “Yuck!” We were __________ by his behavior. A.unfazed B.dazzled C.repulsed C.repulsed

Is unfazed, Repulsed, which dazzled, or means disgusted repulsed the best or sickened, is word to fill the the right choice. blank?

What if I don’t know any of words that are options?

Don’t panic! Try to determine the right word by looking for clues about meaning!

Clue 1: Look for a definition.
Sharilyn suffers from cynophobia , or the fear fear of cynophobia, of dogs so she won be interested in adopting dogs, , so she won ’’ tt be interested in adopting aa puppy.

Look at the commas, sentence! The parentheses, author has or dashes that defined it for encapsulate you! It means the (or set off) the fear of dogs.

Look for

That’s such a big word! How am I supposed to know what it means?

Clue 2: Look for examples.
My dog Jack is obdurate; for forexample, example , he won ’t he won ’t get off the get off couch the couch when when I ask I ask or come or come when when he’s he called. ’s called.
Look at the Look for phrases like toThe sentence! illustrate author gives , for examples instance!, You or such as that can conclude that provide Jack is examples stubborn,that a define synonym the word for obdurate . you don’t know.

That’s another big word! I don’t know what it means!

Clue 3: Look for contr ast.
Jill was sick sick with the flu, so when we explained the with the flu, so when we explained the salubrious properties of chocolate-broccoli muffins, she ate one.

Look Look for at the an antonym sentence!— Ifa she’sthat sick , she word means the wants opposite to get— well , so out to help figure salubrious the meaning of

Salubrious! I’ve never
heard of it! How am I supposed to know if it’s the right word or not?

health-giving don’t know. !

the must word mean you

Clue 4: Infer the meaning.
Everyone calls that boy Sparky. Sparky . Only his mother Only his mother refuses to use the sobriquet, shouting, “Cornelius! Cornelius!” ” when dinner is ready.

Guess, or Sparky infer, the must
be a meaning! nickname , Mothers like to which ischildren what a call their sobriquet by their real is! names.

Sobriquet! Who uses that word! I don’t
know what it means!

At many objective exams, you c a n not use a dictionar y!


W hen in doubt, rely on “ gut ” feelings.
Your eyes have seen in print — and your brain has registered — all of the possible words that you will encounter for this skill. If you don’t know the meaning of any of the words, go with the one that feels right.

Hey, I’ve seen that word


Quick Test
Directions: In the items that follow, choose the most effective word or phrase within the context suggested by the sentence(s).


Let’s see what you can do!

Item 1
After an exhausting all-nighter to finish Professor Clark’s research paper, we found his dull lecture the next morning __________.
A.uplifting B.excruciating B.excruciating C.inspiring

Item 2
After Betsy’s last purchase of a lemon—and the dealership’s unwillingness to repair problems that she thought the warranty covered—Betsy __________ the contract for her new car before she signed it.
A.scrutinized A.scrutinized B.skimmed C.glanced at

Item 3
Walter winced as he tasted the sauce, shook his head, and sighed. His __________ for Loretta’s cooking was obvious.
A.horror B.excitement C.disdain C.disdain

Item 4
The students wished Professor Davis gave __________ directions for essays. Instead, the assignment sheets are pages long and chocked full of requirements. A.complicated B.wide C.succinct C.succinct

Item 5
Sara was filled with __________, for she had emailed Professor Carson to explain that she was too ill to attend class but then ran into him at the Student Center, a tennis racquet in her hand. A.trepidation A.trepidation B.mirth C.brevity

Item 6
Simon had to __________ his cell phone after it rang for the third time in class.

A.relinquish A.relinquish B.amputate C.postpone

Item 7
Roger’s car holds four people comfortably, but he stuffed nine classmates into the little vehicle. Larissa had difficulty __________ herself from the backseat when they arrived at her house. A.modifying B.hovering C.extricating C.extricating

Item 8
Winston read his essay with a ruler, scrutinizing each line for errors. When he finished, he read it again just as carefully. We found his behavior __________, but teachers loved his control of grammar.
A.punitive B.redundant B.redundant C.lackadaisical

Item 9
Larry dyed his hair blue and green and painted his face and torso in the same school colors. In addition, he wore flippers on his feet and hands. When his girlfriend Maria saw his game-day preparations, she gasped and declared them __________.
A.subdued B.ostentatious B.ostentatious C.pedestrian

Item 10
We followed the guide down the stairs to the floor below the lobby. Then we toured the __________ storerooms where the museum kept priceless treasures not on display.
A.subterranean A.subterranean B.lofty C.incapacitated

After the denouement

Or the End.