I came across this multiple choice question, and it's bothering me. I want to be sure before i bring it up with my teacher. Question is below:

Replace the underlined word or phrase(i quoted since i cant find the underline option) without changing the basic meaning or cause grammatical error.

This monument image was designed to "stir up" emotions of awe and respect, but could scarcely evoke feelings of warmth and affection.

A)regulate B)agitate C)tangle D)teem

The provided correct answer is A. The provided explanation is that agitate can mean to move or to stir. I'm pretty sure when used with any emotion the word agitate only have negative meanings. can someone confirm or give an example? My only concern is regarding the usage of the word "agitate". The multiple choice dont need to have an answer.

  • 4
    Your multiple choice question/answers would have most English teachers scratching their heads. Apr 19, 2017 at 10:31
  • 3
    I can imagine some positive uses of "agitate". But whether I could or not, I can't imagine how A) is the correct answer here.
    – calum_b
    Apr 19, 2017 at 11:52
  • 2
    Agitate for something can be positive. Agitate someone is always negative. Agitate (stir) something has no emotional significance. Apr 19, 2017 at 13:57
  • 1
    Did you mean to say that B is the designated correct answer?
    – nnnnnn
    May 30, 2022 at 14:24

1 Answer 1


I think the following connotations and usages can be considered "positive":

Agitate (transitive)

to call attention to by speech or writing; discuss; debate:

  • to agitate the question.


to arouse or attempt to arouse public interest and support, as in some political or social cause or theory:

  • to agitate for the repeal of a tax.


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