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Your Guides to Excellent Writing

Take the grammar, proofreading, and punctuation challenges.

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

Ten commonly abused words and expressions

as identified by Minneapolis Star Tribune writer Bill Dawson,
with assistance from ďsome of the newsroomís pickiest wordsmithsĒ:
John Addington, Ben Welter, Bill Hammond, Paul Walsh, and Sarah T. Williams
Exercise by Stephen Wilbers

Also see confusing word pairs and word choice errors.


1. It feels good to be back on my old stomping grounds.


Correct


Incorrect

Which is it?  Click on your choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


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Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

Yes!

1. It feels good to be back on my old stamping grounds.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


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Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

No!

1. It feels good to be back on my old stamping grounds.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


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Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

 

 

2. She worked quickly to staunch the flow of blood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


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Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

Yes!

2. She worked quickly to stanch the flow of blood.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


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Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

No!

2. She worked quickly to stanch the flow of blood.

It was
incorrect.

Now itís
correct.

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


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www.wilbers.com


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Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

 

3. He desperately poured over his notes in preparation for the exam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


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Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

Yes!

3. He desperately pored over his notes in preparation for the exam.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

No!

3. He desperately pored over his notes in preparation for the exam.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


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www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

 

 

4. By a fluke I neglected to check my calendar and so missed the appointment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


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Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

No!

4. By a fluke [meaning a stroke of good luck] I checked my calendar and saw I had an appointment.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

Yes!

4. By a fluke [meaning a stroke of good luck] I checked my calendar and saw I had an appointment.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


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Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

 

 

5. I know youíre champing at the bit to get this one right!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


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Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

Yes!

5. I know youíre champing at the bit to get this one right!

It was
correct.


 

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


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Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

No!

5. I know youíre champing at the bit to get this one right!

It was
correct.


 

Next

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


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www.wilbers.com


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Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

 

 

6. If we have any more trouble from him, weíll sick Rudy on him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


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www.wilbers.com


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Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

No!

6. If we have any more trouble from him, weíll sic Rudy on him.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

Yes!

6. If we have any more trouble from him, weíll sic Rudy on him.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

 

7. I was embarrassed when she saw me buck naked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


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Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

Yes!

7. I was embarrassed when she saw me buck naked.

It was
correct.

 

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

No!

7. I was embarrassed when she saw me buck naked.

It was
correct.

 

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

 

 

8. She could care less about her grades.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

No!

8. She couldnít care less about her grades.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

Yes!

8. She couldnít care less about her grades.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

 

9. Iím not phased by adversity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

Yes!

9. Iím not fazed by adversity.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

No!

9. Iím not fazed by adversity.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

 

 

10. His confidence in his command of language doesnít jive with all the errors he makes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

Yes!

10. His confidence in his command of language doesnít jibe with all the errors he makes.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Congratulations!

Once more, from the top.

 See the list of all 10 errors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Writing Workshops & Seminars               
Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.
 


 Search
www.wilbers.com


Home       Topics & exercises       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Contact
 

Take the Word Choice Challenge!

 

No!

10. His confidence in his command of language doesnít jibe with all the errors he makes.

Now itís
correct.

It was
incorrect.

Once more, from the top.

 See the list of all 10 errors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten commonly abused words and expressions

1. It feels good to be back on my old stamping grounds.

2. She worked quickly to stanch the flow of blood.

3. He desperately pored over his notes in preparation for the exam.

4. By a fluke [meaning a stroke of good luck] I checked my calendar and saw I had an appointment.

5. I know youíre champing at the bit to get this one right!

6. If we have any more trouble from him, weíll sic Rudy on him.

7. I was embarrassed when she saw me buck naked.

8. She couldnít care less about her grades.

9. Iím not fazed by adversity.

10. His confidence in his command of language doesnít jibe with all the errors he makes.

Once more, from the top

 


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