Word Pairs


  • Type the correct word in the boxes from the pairs of words [in brackets].
  • Click the button at the bottom to check your answers.
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The words
The United Kingdom [officially / official] left the European Union on January the 31st, three-and-a-half years [after / later] the British people voted to leave. The U.K. government issued a [specially / special] coin to mark the occasion. However, the coin is [on / at] the centre of an argument about punctuation. The new 50-pence coin became [available / availability] yesterday. It has the words: "Peace, prosperity and friendship with [every / all] nations" on its reverse [side / back] . A famous British writer, Sir Philip Pullman, is unhappy with the punctuation. He believes the [phase / phrase] is incorrectly punctuated. Mr Pullman said there should be a comma after the word "prosperity". [Such / Name] a comma is called an Oxford comma. He said the coin, "should [have / be] boycotted by all literate people".

The Oxford comma [calls / gets] its name from the Oxford University Press, which makes [common / commonly] use of the punctuation mark. In the USA, it is called the [cereal / serial] comma. It is used before the final "and" or ["or" / "and"] "" in a written list of three or [more / most] items. Many people say there is no need for an Oxford comma in the phrase on the 50-pence coin because the meaning is very [clearly / clear] . Word expert Susie Dent said the Oxford comma is [useless / useful] if it makes it easier to understand the writer's meaning. A U.K. citizen said the comma [issue / tissue] wasn't important. She tweeted: "It doesn't matter if there is a comma or [never / not] on the 50p coin. The most important [thing / think] is that there is peace, and prosperity, and friendship with all nations."

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