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Do Confusing Vocabulary Words Exasperate (or is it Exacerbate) You?

This can be a very exasperating pair. Mixing them up could definitely exacerbate your testing situation.

Relying on context, we can see infer that the exacerbate means to make worse. Maybe not quite so clear from context is exasperate, which means to annoy.

One way to avoid confusing these two is to pronounce exasperate slowly. What happens when you get to the third syllable? Our lips make an aspirated sound as though we were spitting. Now what happens when people are annoyed and upset they spit. (Or perhaps it ex-a-SP-erates you when you see someone spitting in public.)

Let’s now try the following:


(A) intensify : implacable

(B) exasperate : flatter

(C) harm : salubrious

(D) aggravate : vex

(E) champion : approving

The bridge between the question pair is: Something that is AMELIORATIVE does NOT EXACERBATE. Something that is salubrious does NOT harm.  Make sure that you don’t try to make a weak tie between flatter and exasperate.  Somebody who flatters may exasperating or may not be exasperating.

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