TOEFL Vocabulary – Disagreement Verbs (Video)

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In this video Chris from Magoosh talks about TOEFL vocabulary, specifically explaining some disagreement verbs, which are especially helpful for your essay in the Integrated Writing.

Disagreement verbs are words that show that two things are not in agreement. For example, let’s take the word “to undermine”. This verb means that something is shown not to be true or it has been weakened. It is especially used when talking about weakening over time, in many small parts. For example, you hear a lecture about the first people coming to America from other continents. This happened thousands of years ago and there is no current consensus about where the first people in America came from. Some think they came from Asia, others believe that they arrived from India or the islands. So, there is some disagreement on where those people actually came from.

Let’s use the word “undermine” in a sentence about this topic. For example: “The old theory is that people came across the land bridge, but DNA testing on old bones has slowly undermined that theory.” So, there is an old theory that the people came across the land. However, new evidence has again and again slowly challenged that belief and weakened it.

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Another disagreement word is “to refute”. Refute means to prove something wrong, show that it is incorrect and not possible. Let’s use the same topic for another example. We have new evidence from those bones about where the people came from and maybe we say that new evidence refutes the idea that people came from land. Now it is definitely not true.

“To counter” is another verb used in an argument. For example, in your TOEFL you could have a text that says people came over that land bridge, but your professor disagrees. He counters the arguments in the text. He counters that the climate at that time, many years ago, was too cold for people to travel so far north.

These were three different ways of showing that you disagree with a statement. You could provide facts that undermine the statement, or maybe you could quickly counter one point with another point of yours that is opposite, or you could completely show that it is not true by refuting it.

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