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GRE Article of the Month – May 2013

By Sam Sacks for The New Yorker

By Benjamin Schwartz for The Atlantic

I know, I know, it’s June. Better late than never!

For “this” month’s article of the month, I’ve decided to do a two-for-one special. By that I mean there will be two articles. But mere bounty is not my aim here. Sometimes, readers feel that the articles I recommend, while engaging and thought provoking, are neither challenging nor contain difficult (at least for them) vocabulary. As a corrective, I will have one tough article–for those looking to break 160 in Verbal–and one not-so-tough article.

The Tough Article

For the challenging article, I’ve chosen a five-page piece from the New Yorker that addresses the question: What makes a work of literature a classic? And the more interesting—and polemical—counterpart: Is it mere chutzpah for us to skewer the sacred cows of the literary canon?

The menagerie of tough vocabulary includes the following:

  • Orotundity
  • Pillory
  • Hegemony
  • Philistinism
  • Apotheosized
  • Concomitant


The Easier Article

Of course I don’t want to leave those who aren’t looking to break 160 bereft of their monthly dose. So I’ve included a longer piece from The Atlantic, called The Rise and Fall of Charm in American Men. While this is the “easy” piece, there are so many GRE vocabulary words in the article that you might at times feel as though you are making your way through a lexical quagmire. The topic is straightforward enough: where have all the charming men gone? The writer is both highly analytical and big into name-dropping, so the sentence structure is quite involved. At times you might feels like you are reading through a Text Completion (which, for GRE, is a good thing).

Below is a hefty sampling of the words.

You might want to look these words up first before reading the article.

  • Burgeoned
  • Ingratiating
  • Tentative
  • Arch (2nd def.)
  • Idiosyncratic
  • Inconspicuous
  • Gambit
  • Quotidian
  • Declension
  • Jejune
  • Antithesis
  • Insouciance
  • Exemplar
  • Diffidence
  • Deployed
  • Profligatev
  • Lascivious
  • Beguiling


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