When reading TOEFL iBT passages, you will encounter unfamiliar vocabulary. In these situations, you should try to understand the new word by looking at the context in which it is used. Examples, appositives, punctuation, and the conjunction “or” may help you to understand a new word.
Examples in the form of a word or phrase may help to explain the meaning of a word: as, case in point, for instance, for example, in fact, like, specifically, such as, and to illustrate.
This outcome is a reflection of strong sense of solidarity within the corporate peasant community; for instance, this solidarity is apparent in the tendency for almost every man to remain within his village over his lifetime.
The meaning of solidarity is identified by the example that most men remain within their village during their lifetime; therefore, you can guess that solidarity means having an identity or coincidence of interests, purposes, or sympathies among members of a certain group.
In some cases, an appositive, a noun or noun phrase which is set off by commas and which modifies another noun, can help you to identify the meaning of an unknown word.
Whether psychology should be classified as a biological or social science was a contentious issue among scholars until 1960, after which time it was increasingly described as a behavioral science, the science of the behavior of organisms.
The meaning of “behavioral science” is identified by its appositive, “the science of the behavioral science.”
Punctuation marks can be used to set off a word which is used to identify another word. Some useful punctuation marks that might help you to understand the meaning of an unknown word are the following:
brackets [ ]
double quotation marks ” ”
parentheses ( )
single quotation marks ‘ ’
If the wire is bent into a coil, called a solenoid, the magnetic fields of the individual loops combine to produce a strong field through the core of the coil.
The meaning of “solenoid” which is set off by commas is identified by the definition which precedes it: “wire is bent into a coil.”
THE CONJUNCTION “OR”
Sometimes “or” and a synonym immediately comes after an unknown word or phrase.
Haliaeetus leucocephalus, or the Bald Eagle, is one of two eagles in North America and the only exclusively North American Eagle.
The meaning of the words “Haliaeetus leucocephalus” are identified by the words “the Bald Eagle” following the word “or.”
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