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Conquering Hard Passages

Drill: Difficult Vocabulary

The following sentences contain one or more difficult vocabulary words. Instead of focusing on what you may not know, start by cutting the fat. Then simplify the sentence by replacing difficult words with more familiar ones whenever possible.


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1. The provenance of the sonnet “To the Supreme Being,” typically attributed to Michelangelo, and famously rendered in English by Wordsworth, has been challenged by some scholars.

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Simplify:

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2. Though the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act in 1999 did not engender excessive controversy, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, some members of Congress are now pushing to resuscitate the legislation, which was originally passed in 1933 to separate traditional banks from the riskier financial services industry.

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Simplify:

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3. The Austrian music theorist Heinrich Shenker is most famous for having devised the eponymous mode of musical analysis based on the concepts of tonal space and primal structure.

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Simplify:

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4. In oxygenic photosynthesis, water furnishes the requisite electrons for the reduction reaction that converts carbon dioxide into a carbohydrate, and this hydrolysis also yields oxygen.

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Simplify:

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5. Although opera as we know it today began with Jacopo Peri’s Dafne, this seminal work was not an exercise in innovation, but rather an attempt to revive classical Greek drama.

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Simplify:

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6. William Perkin unwittingly produced mauve, the first synthetic dye, while trying to engineer artificial quinine in his endeavor to cure malaria.

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Simplify:

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