18 April 2010

A challenging vocabulary test

Michael Spear, an Associate Professor in a Journalism Program came up with "The Journalists' Vocabulary Challenge" for his copy editing students - a "random list of words that journalists might know or might want to know. They represent no standard. Take a minute and see how well you do, whether you are a journalist or not."

The background and rationale for the quiz is explained here.  I tried it a few nights ago and scored 90/100.  I missed fulsome, insouciance, cavil, panache, ululate, mordant, feckless, sophistry, sinecure, and one other I can't remember.

The test is "self-scoring" with little smiley-faces for a correct guess and an "X" for an incorrect one.

The quiz itself is HERE.  Via Kottke.


  1. I did alright myself, but I think I would have done better if the author had chosen better synonyms for some of the words. "Solution" is a not a particularly good synonym for denouement, for example. "Resolution" would be the more accurate choice.

  2. I totally agree. On about half of my mistakes I chose "none of the above" because the offered definitions were a little off, but "none of the above" was never right.

  3. 83/100

    I am annoyed about perdition - it bloody well means "state of being lost".

    And some senses of the word "strong" apply to strident.

    And most embarrassed about missing inchoate.

  4. I missed obloquy, pusillanimous,
    traduce, and inchoate. I've certainly seen all of them and thought I knew what they meant. But I had "pusillanimous" exactly backward; I didn't realize "inchoate" had to do with "beginning stages"--I thought it meant confused, ill-formed (which it does, but because whatever it is is in the "beginning stages"), so I clicked "none of these."

    I'd gotten them all right up to "inchoate," and that was far enough down for me to suspect that there weren't any "none of these" examples, so I wasn't tempted to click that choice again, even though some of the definitions were a bit peculiar.

    I've been reading more than three times as long as the guy's students; don't think I'd have done much better than they did when I was in college. But how old was the "award-winning White House correspondent" who got only 86 right??

  5. This is what we have dictionaries for!

    And I refuse to post my score.

  6. I have to say it's more of a challenged quiz because some of the answers are plain wrong.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...