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TOEFL Preparation: Lesson 15 - Social Inequality

Target Words 1. amend

2. biased

3. burden

4. counter

5. de facto 6. discriminate

7. notion 8. oppress 9. paradigm 10. prejudiced

Definitions and Samples

1. amend v. To change for the better The residents voted to amend their neighborhood policy on fences. Parts of speech amendment n

2. biased 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

3. burden n. Something that is carried; a source of stress or worry The donkey walked slowly under the burden of its heavy load. The failing company faced the burden of bad debts and a poor reputation. Parts of speech burden v

4. counter v. To act in opposition to; to offer in response The hockey player countered the punch with a smashing blow from his hockey stick. Jane countered every accusation with a specific example of her achievements. Parts of speech counter n, counter adj

5. de facto 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

6. discriminate To choose carefully among options The governor wisely discriminated between urgent issues and those that could wait. Parts of speech discriminatory adj, discriminate adj

7. notion n. A belief; a fanciful impulse The notion that older office equipment is unreliable is inaccurate. One morning, she suddenly took the notion to paint her kitchen red. Usage tips Notion can be followed by a that clause or a to phrase.

8. oppress v. To keep down by force; to weigh heavily on Factory management oppressed workers through intimidation. Parts of speech oppression n

9. paradigm 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. 10. prejudiced 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


Complete each sentence by filling in the blank with the best word from the list. Change the form of the word if necessary. Use each word only once.

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.


Find the word or phrase that is closest in meaning to the opposite of each word in the lefthand column. 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 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 Structure— The 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

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