How Well Will You (Fair, Fare) on This Quiz?

Rob Kyff on

No. 1) b., a. "Stationery" means "writing paper." Remember, both "stationery" and "letter" have an "e." "Stationary" means "standing still." Think of the "a" in "stay."

No. 2) a., b. A laurel for "hardy," which means "strong." Think "d" as in "durable." "Hearty" means "exuberant, vigorous, unrestrained." Think "whole-hearted."

No. 3) a., b. The noun "premiere" is the first performance of a film, play or musical work. Think "e" as in "earliest." The adjective "premier" means "first, foremost," and the noun "premier" means a nation's top leader.

No. 4) b., a. "Shear" means "to cut, clip." It has an "a," as in a sheep's "bah." "Sheer" means "utter, unmitigated."

No. 5) a., b. "Flounder" means "to move clumsily, thrash about." Picture a dying flounder on the beach. "Founder," from a Latin word meaning "bottom" (as in "foundation"), means "to fail, collapse, sink." Think Titanic.

No. 6) a., b. "Forbear" (accent on the second syllable) means "to refrain, hold back." "Forebear" (accent on the first syllable) means "ancestor."


No. 7) b., a. "Compliment" has an "i," as in, "I like it." "Complement" has an "e" because the two items "complete" each other.

No. 8) b., a. Remember that "lightning" is so quick it drops the "e." "Lightening" means either "to brighten with light" or to "make lighter in weight."

Rankings: 6-8 correct -- Fared well; 3-5 correct -- Well, fair; 0-2 correct -- Farewell.


Rob Kyff, a teacher and writer in West Hartford, Connecticut, invites your language sightings. His new book, "Mark My Words," is available for $9.99 on Send your reports of misuse and abuse, as well as examples of good writing, via email to or by regular mail to Rob Kyff, Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

Copyright 2022 Creators Syndicate Inc.



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