August 16, 2013
incentive (noun)
\in-SEN-tiv\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: something that makes a person try or work hard or harder
How do you use it?
In addition to his regular salary, Jason was offered a bonus as an extra incentive to sell more sports equipment.
Are you a word wiz?

Which of these sentences do you think uses the word "incentive" correctly?

We hope you didn't have to work too hard to come up with C. Since "incentive" is not something you can smell, the answer can't be A. "Incense," the material that is burned to create a fragrant odor, should be used there instead. Although "incentive" can also be an adjective (as in "an incentive package"), it is an "incendiary" device that contains chemicals that burst into flame in B. And it's "invective," which means "harsh or insulting words," that fits neatly into sentence D. That leaves C, and encouragement of the loyal fans who keep on believing their team can win.
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