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As part of our series on tricky word pairs, this post will introduce 4 word groups/pairs that can be confusing and misleading. We will first go through each pair thoroughly to clarify their specific definitions and usage. At the end of the post, we will have a revision practice for you to test your knowledge.

1. Apprise VS Appraise

Apprise: to give notice to
The general was immediately apprised of the incoming attack.

Appraise: set a price on; assess the value of
To choose the winner of the medal appraised at one thousand dollars, three disinterested judges insouciantly appraised the finalists’ performances over 8 hours.

 

2. Influence VS Affluence VS Effluence

Influence: an effect; the power to have an effect;
The influence of Cortázar on her writing is apparent in how the structure of her latest book resembles that of one of his short stories.

Affluence: wealth
Affluence increased greatly in Norwegian society after multiple oil reserves were found.

Effluence: something that flows out
The company was prosecuted for dumping its chemical effluence in a nearby river.

3. Revert VS Divert VS Reverse

Revert: return to
Despite the peaceful holiday, the couple reverted back to their endless quarrels soon after returning.

Divert: to cause a change in direction; to distract someone from something;
While his intentions to divert her mind from the bad news were laudable, it unfortunately caused her to miss the road which was diverted due to traffic works.

Reverse: to move backwards, or make something the opposite of what it was

The driver apologised profusely for his mistake, but he could not reverse the damage that was already done when he had reversed his car without checking his rear-view mirror.

4. Absorb VS Adsorb

Absorb: to take something in
Most of the impact of the bullet was absorbed by the protective glass.

Adsorb: to cause a substance to hold as a thin film on the surface of another material
Since the innovation allowed the by-product to adsorb onto the surface of the introduced material, most of the toxins could be removed from the end-product and collected in the waste container.

Now test your knowledge with these five sentences:


Apprise    Adsorb     Affluence     Absorb     Revert     Appraise     Effluence     Reverse     Divert     Influence


  1. The director was unable to fully ________________ and comprehend the bad news despite having been _________________ of it many hours ago.
  2. The damage caused by the fetid _______________ of sewage on the streets must be ____________________ immediately to reduce further consequences.
  3. The gaseous by-products of the reaction were ________________ away through a series of tubes and subsequently _____________ onto the surface of the fibers.
  4. The constant bad ______________ of his peers was too difficult to withstand and John found himself __________________ back to his old habits in no time.
  5. _________________ is frequently no solution to most things, but it may be able to _______________ a fraction of the environmental damage already caused by manmade pollution.

 

If you enjoyed this series on tricky words, how about testing yourself with some difficult TC questions?

Answers to the above:

  1. Absorb; apprised
  2. Effluence; appraised
  3. Diverted; adsorbed
  4. Influence; reverting
  5. Affluence; reverse

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