June 30


Words That Are Often Confused: Skeptical & Cynical, Naive & Gullible, Trustworthy & Reliable

You’re listening to Cambridge Exam Coach, a podcast for ambitious learners of English. This is the show where you can prepare for your Cambridge exam at the same time as improving your English.

I’m Kristian, your host, today it’s Wednesday 30 June 2021, and in this episode we’re going to be building our vocabulary together. To be more specific, we’re going to be talking about adjectives that are often confused, and maybe not only in English, but also in your mother tongue. Are you ready? All right then, let’s kick this off!

Hello dear dear listeners, how are you doing? I hope you’re doing great. This is another episode of the podcast in which we’re going to be practicing together, and as usual the aim here is to work on improving your English as well as preparing for your Cambridge exam.

Today we’re going to be talking about the adjectives cynical, sceptical, gullible, naive, reliable, trustworthy, tolerant and supportive. I’ll start reading out loud 2 adjectives, then 2 definitions and you have to match the adjectives with the correct definitions.

Are you ready? Here we go!

Choose the correct words to complete the definition.

Sceptical or cynical?
Someone who is … has doubts about something that other people think is true or right.
Someone who is … believes that people care only about themselves and aren’t sincere.

I’m extremely sceptical about what I read in the press.
The public is cynical about election promises.

Naive or gullible?
A … adult is easy to trick because they trust and believe people too easily.
A … young person lacks life experience and so trusts other people too easily.

He held onto the naive belief that capitalism would solve all the world’s problems.
How can you be so gullible! He is not really a rich person.

Reliable or trustworthy?
A … person is someone you can trust to do what you expect. (This word can also describe a source of information, product, etc.)
A … person is someone you know is honest , and that you can believe in.

Most of our employees are pretty trustworthy, I think.
It’s strange Ben isn’t here. He’s usually so reliable.

Tolerant or supportive?
Someone who is … will be helpful, encouraging and sympathetic when problems occur.
Someone who is … is willing to accept someone else’s beliefs or way of life.

Luckily, my parents were tolerant of my choice of religion.
My family was very supportive throughout the divorce.

OK over to you: when was the last time you were sceptical or cynical? Do you now a trustworthy person? When is somebody tolerant in your view? Are you a supportive person? Try to answer these questions and you’ll see that you’ll memorize these verb collocations much better!

Alright, that’s a wrap! As ever, I hope this has been both useful and interesting for you and that you’ve enjoyed listening to this episode.

If you have any questions, thoughts, or feedback, you can respond via email or in the comment section of the transcript. I read and respond to every email or comment on the website. 🙂

Before we finish, let me tell you that we’ve launched our C1 exam preparation courses this week.

You may check the homepage for detailed information about the courses. 

So, if you want to be completely confident and fully prepared for your Cambridge exam, do check out our new website cambridgeexamcoach.com, where you can find all the information you need about our courses.

OK, that’s it. As always, take care of yourself, and each other, alright?

Speak to you soon, bye bye!

About the author 


Kristian is from The Netherlands, but he lives in Prague, Czechia. He is a CELTA qualified teacher who passed the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam with grade A. When he's not working, he likes to chill out with music, podcasts or an audiobook.


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