Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Test your high-level English vocabulary (adjectives)

These are commonly used adjectives in some of America's best newspapers and magazines.  Please see whether you can complete the fill-in-the-blank exercise.

Answers are below the exercise.


*ailing – hurting, suffering 
*autonomous – independent, free   
*brutal – cruel, too severe, 
*conclusive – certain, absolute 
*disinterested – objective, not biased, no pre-established feelings
*effervescent – bubbly, enthusiastic, mirthful,  
*esoteric – difficult to understand, secret 
*fallacious – false 
*frantic – disordered, wild;
*grave – very solemn or serious;  
*immaculate – pure, unpolluted; 
*incessant – continual, nonstop 
*indigent - poor 
*innocuous – harmless, benign 
*itinerant – one who moves around, one who travels
*lucid  - very clear, understandable 
*mercurial- quick to change one’s emotions 
*nefarious – evil, corrupt, criminal
*obsolete – no longer up to date, old fashioned and unusable
*paltry – quite small, too small 
*petulant – quick to lose one’s temper 
*predatory – acting like a predator or hunter, 
*prosaic – opposite of poetic, mundane, common place, boring
*reactionary – opposite of radical, ultra conservative 
*resurgent – coming back
*spendthrift  - opposite of miserly, spending too easily 
*supercilious –haughty, arrogant, full-of-oneself 
*threadbare – worn out through overuse
*unprecedented – something that had never happened before
*vital – essential, absolutely necessary

1. Sophie’s World is such a good book because the author makes a difficult and sometimes esoteric subject, the history of philosophy, very _____________ and easy to understand.

2. Although the Warren Commission stated that the evidence was _____________ that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the Kennedy assassination, to this day many feel that much evidence was overlooked and that the findings of the commission were faulty.

3. Contestants for the Miss Universe pageant are expected to act in an _____________ manner, regardless of how terrible the state of their nation or the world might be.

4. After the fall of communism, many states that had been included in the Soviet Union became ____________ nations with their own executives and legislatures.

5. Most ESL teachers in New York City language schools are paid a ________ sum of money, sometimes as low as $13.33/hr.  This is why they are often lazy and disinterested.

6. In Knut Hamson’s novel Hunger, the main character is so indigent that he has been unable to replace his winter coat for many months and it is ____________ and falling apart.

7. The economic crisis that began to truly be felt in 2008 was not an ____________ event.  There have been numerous economic crises and depressions in the history of the USA.

8. Although some passengers did act in a ____________ manner after the plane landed in the Hudson River, most remained calm and exited as instructed by the crew.

9. Even though some people think that the life of a journalist is bound to be romantic and exciting, I have found it to be quite ___________ and even boring.

10. Bobby Knight, a basketball coach, was felt to be a bit too ___________ by Indiana University, which fired him after a series of violent outbursts at basketball games.

11. Of all the ____________ politicians in the corrupt history of Chicago, perhaps Rod Blagojevich will go down in history as being the most disgusting and corrupt for trying to sell a political office.

12. The airline industry was already ___________ due to increased gas prices when it was hit by the economic crisis, which made the industry suffer even more.

13. Although the economic stimulus plan is meant to improve the economy, I wonder whether it will help the truly ____________ - those people who are so poor that they have little hope for a better life.

14. It seemed ironic: even though greed and the desire for “more more more” had caused the economic crisis, the government seemed to encourage people to become more ______________ and to continue buying more and more goods.

15. The world refuses to forget how ____________ and oppressive the Chinese government’s reaction was to the student protests at Tienamen Square. Tanks literally drove into the square and students were shot dead for peacefully protesting.

16. Oil had once been considered a resource __________ to the prosperity of the nation, but it is slowly being replaced by alternate sources of energy and does not seem as essential any more.

17. The pain was no longer sporadic, it just would not seem to go away. Because the pain had now become ___________, Bob went to the doctor.

18. Although the security guards for the New York Public Library threw the homeless man out of the library, many patrons complained because the man was totally _____________: so what if he was homeless and was sleeping, he wasn’t hurting anyone.

19. Americans no longer seem to even look for a potential president with an ____________ or perfect reputation. Everyone seems to think every politician is partially corrupt – even Obama supported Rod Blagojevich in two Illinois elections

20. After the extreme liberalism of the previous two administrations, the conservative policies of the new president almost seemed ________________.

21. Many people bought the novel The DaVinci Code hoping to learn of various ___________ secrets, only to be disappointed by a quite prosaic and unbelievable story.

22. It would be _____________ to assert that someone else wrote Shakespeare’s plays.  there is no evidence for this assertion.  Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare’s plays.

23. We could tell that the doctor was going to reveal bad news by the _________ look on his face.

24. Bob said that one thing he liked about Asian culture was that an Asian might go to great schools and do impressive things but never would act in a ______________ manner that might offend or embarrass others. 

25. After weeks of economic stagnation and even of times when the market declined, investors were quite happy to see the market ____________ and bouncing back strongly.

26. She was the typical opera diva with a totally ____________ personality. One minute she could be the sweetest person on the planet and the next she could be petulantly screaming bloody murder over nothing at all.

27. Billy Sunday was one of the last, famous ____________ preachers, who traveled around the USA in the early 1900s, speaking out against various evils he thought he saw, especially the evils of alcoholic beverages.

28. After thirty years there were to be trials in Cambodia concerning “The Killing Fields” of Pol Pot’s regime.  Many felt, however, that it might be hard to find  ____________judges for the tribunal since so many people had heard so many horrible things about Pot’s regime.

29. Bank loans were never supposed to be ___________ in nature.  Banks were supposed to wait for people to come to them, not go searching for people they could sign up as borrowers at high interest rates.

30. Although the type-writer is considered _____________, I still have one and although I always use a word processor now, I miss the good old days of typing letters and school papers on the old fashioned machine.

Answers are below:





Answers:

1. lucid
2. conclusive
3. effervescent
4. autonomous
5. paltry
6. threadbare
7. unprecedented
8. frantic
9. prosaic
10. petulant
11. nefarious
12. ailing
13. indigent
14. spendthrift
15. brutal
16. vital
17. incessant
18. innocuous
19. immaculate
20. reactionary
21. esoteric
22. fallacious
23. grave
24. supercilious
25. resurgent
26. mercurial
27. itinerant
28. disinterested
29. predatory
30. obsolete

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