English is full of words that could mislead you. Some are very similar as regards their meaning. Others sound like something totally different from what they actually mean. In this video, Chris, the GRE guy from Magoosh, gives four examples of tricky words.
This interesting word might trick you into thinking of disassemble (the opposite of assemble), but it is spelled differently and means something different – to hide one’s real intentions or emotions. For example, if you are being nice to someone who you don’t actually like, you are dissembling.
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It sounds like it has something to do with art. However, it has a far more different meaning. In this case, artifice means trickery or subtle deception. You would use this word if you’re trying to deceive somebody, for example, if Van Gough is pretending to be someone else and not a painter. That would mean he is engaged in some sort of artifice.
A surreptitious action is done secretly. Let’s say you want something that’s on the table and you are extremely tempted to take it, but you don’t want anyone to see you, because you know they would be annoyed. You would, therefore, surreptitiously sneak in to grab it quickly when nobody’s watching and act like nothing happened.
The word looks a lot like some kind of a machine or something connected to mechanics. Machinations are actually scheming. For example, you are trying to go behind someone’s back to take them down maybe by forming an alliance with someone else. In the meantime, this person may align with somebody else behind your back. We usually see these kinds of scenarios in politics. Some politicians may be involved in such machinations.
And so, as you see, there are a lot of tricky words that you could face during the GRE exam. To ensure you don’t mess up, try to practise as much as possible and be prepared for surprises.