400 Must Have Words for the TOEFL » LESSON 15 - Social Inequality

Word List
  • amend [əˈmend] v.
    To change for the better
    The residents voted to amend their neighborhood policy on fences.
    Parts of speech     amendment n.
  • biased [ˈbaɪəst] adj.
    Leaning unfairly in one direction
    Her newspaper article was criticized for being heavily biased toward the mayor’s proposal.
    Parts of speech     bias n.
  • burden [ˈbərdn] n.
    Something that is carried; a source of stress or worry
    The donkey walked slowly under the burden of its heavy load.
    Parts of speech     burden v.
  • counter [ˈkaʊntər] v.
    To act in opposition to; to offer in response
    The hockey player countered the punch with a smashing blow from his hockey stick.
    Parts of speech     counter n., counter adj.
  • de facto [ˌdeɪ ˈfæktoʊ] adj.
    Truly doing a job, even if not officially
    Popular support established the Citizens Party as the de facto government.
    Parts of speech     de facto adv.
  • discriminate [dɪsˈkrɪmɪneɪt] v.
    To choose carefully among options
    The governor wisely discriminated between urgent issues and those that could wait.
    Parts of speech     discriminatory adj., discriminate adj.
  • notion [ˈnəʊʃən] n.
    A belief; a fanciful impulse
    The notion that older office equipment is unreliable is inaccurate.
    Usage tips     Notion can be followed by a that clause or a to phrase.
  • oppress [əˈpres] v.
    To keep down by force; to weigh heavily on
    Factory management oppressed workers through intimidation.
    Parts of speech     oppression n.
  • paradigm [ˈpærədaɪm] n.
    A pattern or model; a set of assumptions
    The usual paradigm for economic growth in developed countries does not apply to some poor nations.
    Usage tips     Paradigm is often followed by for.
  • prejudiced [ˈpredʒʊdɪst] adj.
    Causing to judge prematurely and unfairly
    Many consumers are prejudiced against commercial goods made in third-world countries.
    Parts of speech     prejudice v., prejudice n.

TOEFL Prep I Choose the word from the list that is closest in meaning to the underlined part of each sentence. Write it in the blank.

  • biased
  • counter
  • de facto
  • notion
  • paradigm
  1. During the trial, the defense lawyer __________ each claim with an opposite charge.
  2. The basketball coach was naturally __________ toward the taller players.
  3. After we saw the fancy car that the Jacobses bought, we gave up the __________ that they could not afford the basic things in life.
  4. The battle was successful, as judged by the prevailing __________ of that era.
  5. Even though Jovie was a cleaner, not a nanny, she was the baby’s __________ caregiver because his parents worked so many hours.

TOEFL Prep II Find the word or phrase that is closest in meaning to the opposite of each word in the left-hand column. Write the letter in the blank.

______ 1. amend(a) relieve
______ 2. burden(b) allow to operate freely
______ 3. oppress(c) leave as is
______ 4. indiscriminately(d) unbiased
______ 5. prejudiced(e) by making careful choices

Answer Key
  1. countered
  2. biased
  3. notion
  4. paradigm
  5. de facto
  1. c
  2. a
  3. b
  4. e
  5. d
Answer Key

TOEFL Success Read the passage to review the vocabulary you have learned. Answer the questions that follow.

Nelson Mandela devoted his life to fighting prejudice in South Africa. Mandela traveled his state, organizing a fight against discriminatory laws and racial bias. He encouraged civil disobedience as a tool against the oppression of Blacks. As deputy president of the African National Congress, Mandela encouraged his fellow citizens to challenge the prevailing paradigm of power. Mandela believed that prejudice burdened not only the oppressed, but also the oppressors.

The government countered Mandela’s activities with a criminal conviction. Still, Mandela’s de facto leadership gained him respect and authority among his fellow citizens. Mandela’s courage and popularity worried the ruling class, who did not want to share power. What’s more, they refused to amend the state’s laws. So when Mandela returned from an overseas trip to gain support for his cause in 1962, he was arrested, jailed, and sentenced to life in prison for various crimes.

This only fueled Mandela’s notions about inequality and justice. He took his demands to jail, where he demanded the same dress and safety gear for Black prisoners as for White prisoners. After 28 years in prison, Mandela was released, returning immediately to public life. In 1994, he was elected the president of South Africa.

Bonus StructureThe ruling class means those who held power mostly because of the families they were born into.

  1. Which of the following best expresses the essential information of this passage?
    • a. Nelson Mandela used illegal means to achieve his ends.
    • b. Nelson Mandela fought prejudice in South Africa.
    • c. Nelson Mandela inspired Blacks around the world.
    • d. Nelson Mandela was driven primarily by his religious beliefs.
  2. In the passage, the word amend is closest in meaning to
    • a. ignore
    • b. write down
    • c. change
    • d. discuss
Answer Key
Answer Key
  1. b
  2. c
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