Source: Revised GRE PDF 1st Ed. Section 3: Verbal; #15 (p. 56)


Early critics of Emily Dickinson’s poetry mistook for

Early critics of Emily Dickinson’s poetry mistook for simplemindedness the surface of artlessness that in fact she constructed with such. Blank: astonishment, craft, cunning, innocence, naïveté, vexation

2 Explanations


Melody Altschuler

I thought from the wording of the question it is saying that the critics thought she was being simpleminded when really she was being artless.

Aug 29, 2018 • Comment

Sam Kinsman

Hi Melody,

Sure! Let's look at a similar sentence.

The family mistook for heavy rain the pounding sound on the roof, which was actually hail.

So we know that the family heard a loud sound on the roof of their house, and mistook it for heavy rain. That is, they mistakenly thought it was heavy rain. But it was actually hail.

So if we say "mistook for x the y," that's the same as saying "mistook y for x."

I hope that helps! :)

Aug 30, 2018 • Reply

Thank you so much for you detailed answer! I have the same concern and your answer is the clearest one I've ever seen on Internet.

Sep 1, 2019 • Reply


Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

Sep 25, 2012 • Comment

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