Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Test your higher-level English skills - vocabulary challenge

to usurp - to take power away from someone who should have it
liberated - freed
to appease - to make someone happy, to satisfy someone even though they might be wrong
brevity - briefness, something lasting a short time
to be intrigued by something/someone - to become deeply interested in something
a detractor - someone who believes that something is wrong; a critic
to exhort - to forcefully encourage
frantically - panicky; to something nervously and quickly because of pressure or fear
sluggish - slow moving
to be rash - to do something impulsively or without thinking about it too much

Answers are below the fill-in-the-blanks:

1.  A perfect example of the _____________ of life is the Mayfly, which only exists for one day before dying.

2.  In his essay "Common Sense,"  Thomas Paine ____________ the American people to continue fighting against the English king and to not stop until they had created a better system of government.

3.  Although Bob was generally reticent and did not speak much about his life, there was something about him that ____________ Irene. 

4.  Because the deadline for his paper was approaching, Bob _____________collected all of his sources and tried to organize them as quickly as possible.

5.  Although the capitol of Afghanistan was ___________ by American forces, who overthrew the Taliban in 2002, the war in Afghanistan has lingered (continued slowly) to this present day.

6.  When Bob wakes up in the morning, he goes about his morning routine somewhat ______________. Yet, by the time he gets to work he is a dynamo! (a dynamo is like a little powerful engine)

7.  Many people feel that the US entered the war against Iraq too ____________.  It would have been better if the Congress had shown more courage and asked more questions. 

8.  Even though American independence is celebrated each year, many people do not realize that there were many ________________ of the concept of independence. Indeed, many people in many states wished to remain English subjects and thought the American Revolution was wrong.

9.  After the military coup in Burma, the power of the president was ____________ by a military junta (a group of generals).

10. Everyone who studies diplomacy knows that Neville Chamberlain's attempt to ___________ Adolph Hitler backfired (it had the opposite effect).  Instead of making Hitler satisfied, Chamberlain's apparent weakness encouraged Hitler to pursue military conquest.

Answers are below:


1. brevity
2. exhorted
3. intrigued
4. frantically
5. liberated
6. sluggishly
7. rashly
8. detractors
9. usurped
10. appease

Please buy my book about New York City!  It's so funny and will improve your vocabulary!

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