TOEFL Preparation: Lesson 23 - Employment

Target Words 1. compensate

2. dynamic 3. enterprising

4. exploit 5. incentive 6. industrious

7. marginal 8. merit 9. promote 10. resign

Definitions and Samples

1. compensate v. To give an employee money or other things in exchange for the work he or she does My pay doesn’t properly compensate me for my efforts, but my other benefits, like health insurance, fill in the gap. Usage tips Compensate is often followed by a for phrase.

Parts of speech compensation n, compensatory adj

2. dynamic adj. Full of energy This job requires a dynamic person, someone who will look for opportunities instead of just waiting around for them.

Parts of speech dynamism n, dynamically adv 3. enterprising adj. Creative in thinking of ways to make money Immigrants are often among the most enterprising members of society, partly because anyone brave enough to make an overseas move is likely to be a risk-taker. Parts of speech enterprise n (Note: There is no verb “to enterprise.”)


4. exploit v. To take advantage of; to treat inconsiderately in order to profit The company tried to exploit the low interest rates to expand operations. The foreign mining company exploited our copper resources and then simply left. Parts of speech exploitation n, exploitive adj


5. incentive n. A possible benefit that motivates a person to do a certain thing This city’s willingness to support its public schools gave us an incentive to move here with our two young children.

Usage tips Incentive is usually followed by a to phrase.


6. industrious adj. Willing to work hard The Dutch settlements in Ottawa County were founded by industrious farmers who objected to frivolous behavior such as dancing.

Usage tips Only people can be industrious; companies cannot.

Parts of speech industriousness n, industriously adv


7. marginal adj. Not very significant or effective Our new advertising campaign had only marginal success, raising sales by a mere 3 percent. Parts of speech marginally adv

8. merit n. Value; success based on one’s work, not on luck Pay raises at our company are based on merit, as determined by a committee of managers. Usage tips Merit is uncountable. Parts of speech merit v, meritorious adj

9. promote v. To move someone to a higher position in a company

Because of his excellent handling of the Vredeman account, Jim Harris was promoted to vice president. Usage tips Promote is very often followed by a to phrase indicating the position one has been moved up to.

Parts of speech promotion n

10. resign v. To quit one’s job Because of controversy over his leadership style, Morton resigned from his job as president. Parts of speech resignation n


TOEFL Prep I

Find the word or phrase that is closest in meaning to each word in the left-hand column.

1. compensate (a) good at finding business opportunities 2. dynamic (b) hard-working 3. enterprising (c) energetic

4. industrious (d) move up

5. promote (e) pay TOEFL Prep II

Circle the word that best completes each sentence.

  1. Some companies move their factories to poor countries in order to (exploit/compensate) the desperation of people who are willing to work for very low wages.

  2. For the last five years, we’ve seen only (dynamic/marginal) improvements in our productivity.

  3. Judging by actual money-generating (promotion/merit), Williams is the company’s most valuable employee.

  4. I had a lot of (compensation/incentive) to move to our new facility in Minnesota because two of my brothers live there.

  5. Unless my employer stops polluting local rivers, I’m going to (resign/exploit).


TOEFL Success

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

In the 1960s and 1970s, America was reaching the end of its role as a manufacturing power. Old-style systems of compensation, especially company pension plans, were impoverishing many companies. Much to the disadvantage of less-industrious workers, companies started demanding merit, not just seniority, before someone could be promoted.

Many managers who were only marginally effective were encouraged to resign. These changes were painful, but unavoidable, symptoms of a growth spurt in the U.S. economy. Economies grow and change just as people do. A truly enterprising business person knows how to exploit these large changes and become involved in tomorrow’s dynamic businesses, not yesterday’s. There’s still plenty of money to be made in America, a very effective incentive for workers to adapt to new conditions.

Bonus Structure— Especially introduces an outstanding example.


1. Which sentence best expresses the essential information of this passage?

  1. Most companies cannot afford to compensate their employees like they used to.

  2. Anyone interested in making a lot of money should move to the United States.

  3. The 1960s and 1970s were times of great change for the American economy.

  4. Just as retailers adapt to economic change, so must manufacturers.


2. The author of this article expresses a negative opinion about __________.

a. businesspersons b. workers who depended on seniority for promotion c. companies that exploit changes in the economy

d. the American economy as a whole

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