“The famous saying that ‘all is fair in love and war’ juxtaposes two seeming opposites and shows that there is more similarity between the two than one might think.”

Based on what’s shown above, what is the best definition of juxtapose?

Check your answer!

Choice A - To put two things next to each other to create an interesting effect
Choice B - To enhance or exaggerate the difference between two opposing things
Choice C - To put two things together to create one complete and coherent entity
Choice D - To be squeezed by two giant hands


Juxtaposition (noun) – the act of pairing two things, or putting them next to each other, in order to create contrasting or interesting effect; or, the state of two (usually dissimilar) things being paired or placed next to each other

Juxtapose (verb) – to place two (usually dissimilar) things next to each other; or, to be placed next to another (usually dissimilar) thing

GRE pro tips:

The prefix juxta means “near” or “beside.” For example, in medicine, juxtaspinal means “near the spine.” Likewise, the juxtaposition of two things means the placement of the two things near to or beside each other. Most often, it refers to the pairing of two dissimilar things for the purposes of creating an interesting contrast. Juxtaposition is particularly common as a literary or poetic device. For example, even the famous saying that “all is fair in love and war” juxtaposes two seeming opposites, showing there is more similarity between the two than one might think.

Example sentences:

“I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the salty salmon and the sweet bread.”

“The professor’s academic writing style juxtaposed nicely with her examination of everyday artifacts, adding heft to what some critics called flimsy subject matter.”