TOEFL Reading: The Vocabulary Question


In this type of question, a word will be underlined in the passage. The multiple choice question will ask you to choose an option that is closest in meaning to the underlined word.

Having more than one gene of each type means that if one gene of a set loses function, the plant still has another one that works. And there’s more room for adaptability to new circumstances, because one gene could be altered and co-opted for new purposes and there would still be the other one left to perform the original job.

Strategy 1: Connect the word underlined to other words you know

Looks for other words right before or after the underlined that you know and have similar meaning or give you clues as to what the word might mean,  The underlined word is “co-opted”,  Look at words  before the underlined word. “adaptability to new situations” . Also, the word”altered” which is paired with “Co-opted”  by using the word “and”. So, you know that the word “co-opted” is similar in meaning to “altered” because the two words are joined together with “and”. Go through each answer choice. The only answer that describes “adaptability to new situations”  and “altered” is adopted.

The word “co-opted” in paragraph 8 is closest in meaning to
A) decided upon together
B) argued against
C) removed from the study
D) adopted



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