December 06, 2017
compulsory (adjective)
\kum-PUL-suh-ree\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : required by or as if by law2 : having the power to force someone to do something
How do you use it?
Our high school is trying to do more to prevent concussions during athletic events, and has made pre-season baseline testing compulsory for all student athletes.
Are you a word wiz?

Which one of these sentences do you think uses "compulsory" correctly?

We're compelled to tell you that answer C is the correct one. Since in Sentence A no one was obliged to participate in the poetry contest, it can't be described as "compulsory." The writer needed to substitute "voluntary," the opposite of "compulsory," for that statement to make sense. Sentence B can be thrown out, since it uses "compulsory" as a noun instead of an adjective. "Compound" would be a suitable word to use in its place. The actress in D might well be called "competent" as a serious performer, but not "compulsory." That leaves us with C, and the uniforms that must be worn by all the students whether they like it or not.
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