Mixups unmixed: Is it ‘Critique’, or ‘Criticism’?

Gling gling! Back again with another chance to flex those vocabulary muscles: Welcome to another edition of “Mixups Unmixed!”

Let’s dive deep into the world of words that leave scientists scratching their heads. Can you differentiate between words that seem to be each other’s doppelgangers? Let’s find out!

If you emerge victorious, consider yourself a Master Unmixer of mixups! If not, you’re still in good company. I’m sure even the best scientists would stumble over at least some of them.

1. Critique vs. Criticism

Oh, this pair is fascinating! People use them interchangeably, but is that correct?

Quiz: Which sentence is correct?

  • a) “The researcher offered a constructive critique of the new theory.”
  • b) “The researcher offered constructive criticism of the new theory.”

‘Critique’ is a detailed analysis and assessment of something. For example: “The scientist provided a comprehensive critique of the experimental design.”

‘Criticism,’ on the other hand, implies the expression of disapproval based on perceived faults or mistakes. For instance: “The criticism focused on the lack of robustness in the methodology.”

Now, what do you think is the correct response to the quiz? (You’ll find the correct response at the end of the post).

2. Parameter vs. Perimeter

Quiz: Which sentence is correct?

  • a) “The parameter of the rectangular field is 200 meters.”
  • b) “The perimeter of the rectangular field is 200 meters.”

‘Parameter’ refers to a variable whose value is selected to configure a system, like a mathematical equation’s constants. For example: “The model includes several parameters that need to be fine-tuned.”

‘Perimeter,’ however, is the continuous line forming the boundary of a closed geometrical figure. For instance: “We calculated the perimeter of the rectangular plot to determine the amount of fencing needed.”

Now, what do you think is the correct response to the quiz? (You’ll find the correct response at the end of the post).

3. Elude vs. Allude

Quiz: Which sentence is correct?

  • a) “The author eludes to the previous studies on the subject.”
  • b) “The author alludes to the previous studies on the subject.”

‘Elude’ means to escape from or avoid a danger, enemy, or pursuer, typically in a skillful or ingenious way. Example: “The exact mechanism of the reaction continues to elude scientists.”

‘Allude,’ however, means to suggest or indirectly call attention to, to hint at. For instance: “In his article, he alludes to the ongoing debate in the scientific community.”

Now, what do you think is the correct response to the quiz? (You’ll find the correct response at the end of the post).

4. Complementary vs. Supplementary

Quiz: Which sentence is correct?

  • a) “When two light waves combine to form white light, they are said to be complementary.”
  • b) “When two light waves combine to form white light, they are said to be supplementary.”

‘Complementary’ means combining two things in such a way as to enhance or emphasize each other’s qualities. For example: “The two research methods are complementary and provide a fuller picture when used together.”

‘Supplementary’ means completing or enhancing something. For instance: “The supplementary data provides additional insights into the research findings.”

Now, what do you think is the correct response to the quiz? (You’ll find the correct response at the end of the post).

5. Deduce vs. Induce

Time for the grand finale!

Quiz: Which sentence is correct?

  • a) “From the evidence, the scientist could deduce the cause of the reaction.”
  • b) “From the evidence, the scientist could induce the cause of the reaction.”

Deduce’ means to draw a logical conclusion from the available information. For example: “By analyzing the data, we could deduce the relationships between the variables.”

“Induce” means to cause or bring about. In science, ‘induce’ is often used to describe the action of provoking a particular state or reaction. For example, “Our results show that the chemical can induce mutations.”

Now, what do you think is the correct response to the quiz? (You’ll find the correct response at the end of the post).

The Solutions!

How did you fare? Here’s the answer key:

Quiz 1: Critique vs. Criticism

  • a) “The researcher offered a constructive critique of the new theory.”
  • b) “The researcher offered constructive criticism of the new theory.”

The correct sentence is b. ‘Criticism’ is the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes, making it the appropriate word in this context.

Quiz 2: Parameter vs. Perimeter

a) “The parameter of the rectangular field is 200 meters.”
b) “The perimeter of the rectangular field is 200 meters.”
The correct sentence is b. The ‘perimeter’ is the continuous line forming the boundary of a closed geometrical figure and is the suitable word to describe the boundary length of the rectangular field.

Quiz 3: Elude vs. Allude

a) “The author eludes to the previous studies on the subject.”
b) “The author alludes to the previous studies on the subject.”
The correct sentence is b. ‘Allude’ means to suggest or call attention indirectly, making it the correct choice when referring to mentioning previous studies.

Quiz 4: Complementary vs. Supplementary

a) “When two light waves combine to form white light, they are said to be complementary.”
b) “When two light waves combine to form white light, they are said to be supplementary.”
The correct sentence is a. ‘Complementary’ implies that combining the two light waves makes them different than each would be separately.

Quiz 5: Deduce vs. Induce

a) “From the evidence, the scientist could deduce the cause of the reaction.”
b) “From the evidence, the scientist could induce the cause of the reaction.”
The correct sentence is a. ‘Deduce’ means to draw a logical conclusion based on the available evidence, which is the appropriate usage when determining the cause of a reaction from given information.

Enjoyed this word expedition? Stay tuned for more wordy adventures next month!

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