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TOEFL Preparation: Lesson 29 - Government Corruption

Target Words 1. bribery 2. cynically

3. erode 4. evade 5. grotesque 6. integrity

7. prevalent

8. reform 9. scandal 10. unmask

Definitions and Samples

1. bribery n. Giving money or other gifts to a government official or other person in authority in order to get special privileges Bribery of police officers is common in countries where police salaries are very low. Parts of speech bribe v, bribe n

2. cynically adv. Disrespectfully; emphasizing the weaknesses of otherwise respected things Employees of the Roadways Department cynically referred to their boss as “the banker” because he took so many bribes. Parts of speech cynic n, cynicism n, cynical adj

3. erode v. To wear away and become smaller People’s respect for the government eroded as more officials were arrested for corruption. Usage tips Erode can be intransitive (the beach eroded) or transitive (the waves eroded the beach). Parts of speech erosion n, erosive adj

4. evade v. To get away from something that tries to catch you The robbery suspects tried to evade the police by fleeing to Canada. Parts of speech evasion n, evasive adj

5. grotesque adj. Extremely unattractive, in a way that catches a lot of attention. Spending $3.5 million to redecorate the governor’s house is a grotesque misuse of public money.

6. integrity n. Personal honesty and good character We don’t have a problem with our employees stealing from the store because we hire only people with a lot of integrity.

7. prevalent adj. Common; easy to find because it exists in great amounts Distrust of elected officials was prevalent in our county because many of them were friends with certain candidates. Parts of speech prevail v, prevalence n

8. reform v. To make big improvements The new law was an attempt to reform the system of giving money to political candidates. Parts of speech reform n, reformer n

9. scandal n. A case of wrongdoing that hurts someone’s reputation In the Watergate scandal, some of the president’s top advisors were revealed to be criminals. Parts of speech scandalize v, scandalous adj

10. unmask v. Reveal; expose something that is hidden The Forge Trucking Company was eventually unmasked as a front for organized crime.


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

1. cynically (a) respectfully

2. evade (b) corruption 3. integrity (c) cover up

4. prevalent (d) uncommon

5. unmask (e) get caught TOEFL Prep II

Choose the word that best completes each sentence. 1. The president resigned because a (scandal/bribery) made it impossible for him to lead. 2. Laws that let the police monitor criminals can (erode/evade) the privacy of innocent citizens too.

3. After Downforth Castle was bought by apartment developers, it became a (prevalent/grotesque) jumble of poorly built additions.

4. In some places, people who are pulled over for traffic offenses use (scandal/bribery) to avoid getting a ticket.

5. President Carazza came to office promising (reform/integrity) of the prison system.

TOEFL Success

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

In many countries, few politicians have enough integrity to resist corruption and bribery. Because such practices are so prevalent, officials often evade any personal sense of guilt by pretending that everyone is just as corrupt as they are. Even in cases of really grotesque corruption, the kind that might cause a scandal in a less-corrupt government, the general population may not be shocked. Instead, they may cynically conclude that government corruption is natural and un- avoidable. In this environment, the efforts of an honest politician to unmask corruption may be eroded by the public’s lack of interest, causing any efforts at reform to fail. Bonus Structure— In this environment means “under these conditions.” 1. Why do people in some countries not react negatively to corruption?

a. because they feel it cannot be avoided b. because they want reform c. because almost everyone in the government is corrupt d. because they have paid money to gain influence

2. What effect might a small scandal have in a country where government corruption is not typical?

a. It could make someone very popular. b. It could cause a politician to become cynical. c. It could cost a lot of money. d. It could cause a government official to lose his or her position.

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