GRE Verbal : Nouns and Adjectives or Adverbs in Three-Blank Texts

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted into the sentence, best completes the sentence.

The young man was very insecure and therefore accomplished all of his tasks with great __________.  He did not want to seem __________ to any of the managers, for he feared losing his job because of an apparent __________ of spirit.

Possible Answers:

celerity . . . languid . . . deficit

sagacity . . . uninformed . . . dullness

demeanor . . . recalcitrant . . . rancid

profundity . . . shallow . . . notoriety

alacrity . . . immature . . . lucidity

Correct answer:

celerity . . . languid . . . deficit

Explanation:

The most tempting wrong answer is the one that has "alacrity" as its first element. The second sentence, upon filling in the blanks without looking at the answers, clearly indicates that the young man did not wish to seem to have a lack of energy; however, the remaining content for "alacrity . . ." doesn't make sense in this context.

The key word that might cause problems in the correct answer set is "celerity." The word comes from the Latin base "celeriter," meaning quickly, rapidly, and so forth. Related words in English are "accelerate" and "decelerate." The second and third words in this set match the sense of opposition evoked between the sentences, even if "deficit" does not seems like a word that would normally be chosen.

Example Question #1 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted into the sentence, best completes the sentence.

The presidential candidate slammed his hand on the lectern many times during the course of his speech. Between his wild                 and                 style, it would have been better to call this event a                   than a political address.

Possible Answers:

glances . . . desultory . . . confusion

gesticulations . . . bombastic . . . tirade

demeanor . . . addled . . . rant

heckling . . . overwrought . . . comedy

mannerisms . . . limpid . . . discourse

Correct answer:

gesticulations . . . bombastic . . . tirade

Explanation:

The two most tempting answers are "gesticulations . . . bombastic . . . tirade" and "demeanor . . . addled . . . rant." Two points help to make the final determination. First, the sentence clearly notes the candidate's hand motions. This at least works in favor of the set containing "gesticulations" (hand movements). Furthermore, "addled" means confused, but "rant" indicates an angry speech; therefore, the match between the second and third term is tenuous at best. "Bombastic" and "tirade" particularly work well, giving us the correct answer.

Example Question #3 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Everyone was surprised when the corporal, normally a __________ woman, not only spoke up in the meeting, but had the __________ to tell the five-star general to his face that his last order had been __________, issued in the heat of the moment without first considering later repercussions.

Possible Answers:

reticent . . . dogmatism . . . sanctioned

laconic . . . presumption . . . pragmatic

garrulous . . . sagacity . . . meticulous

obsequious . . . volatility . . . banal

taciturn . . . audacity . . . impetuous

Correct answer:

taciturn . . . audacity . . . impetuous

Explanation:

We know that "everyone was surprised" that the corporal "spoke up in the meeting," so for the first blank, we need an adjective that describes her normally quiet personality. Possible options include "taciturn," "laconic," and "reticent." For the second blank, we need a noun that describes the corporal critiquing the general. Of our remaining choices—"audacity," "presumption," and "dogmatism"—the first two choices fit the bill. For the last blank, we know that the general's order was given without much forethought, and need an adjective that describes this. Between "impetuous" (acting or done thoughtlessly or carelessly) and "pragmatic," (dealing with things practically and seriously) "impetuous" is the clear choice, making the answer to the question "taciturn . . . audacious . . . impetuous."

Example Question #16 : Text Completion

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Frances believed that the meeting was __________; a __________ of factors enabled her and her new partner to finish the project with great __________, unexpectedly finishing three weeks ahead of schedule.

Possible Answers:

providential . . . constellation . . . celerity

tedious . . . predestination . . . concomitance

planned . . . dissipation . . . sagacity

florid . . . vector . . . turgidity

fawning . . . congeries . . . amazement

Correct answer:

providential . . . constellation . . . celerity

Explanation:

The easiest blank for this question is the final one. Since Frances finished ahead of schedule, she was able to work with speed. "Celerity" means speed in moving and functions well in this sentence as well. It is related to "accelerate," which means to increase speed. This seems to have been an unexpected meeting with positive outcomes. Such fortuitous events are often called "providential" from the older theological notion of divine foreknowledge and ordering of the world. This meeting led to a gathering of helpful factors. Such a gathering is called a "constellation"—just like the stars that are gathered together. (Indeed, "constellation" leterally means stars that are together. See the root "-stella-" found in "stellar".)

Example Question #2 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Harvey believed that it was a __________ maxim that one should listen to one’s __________, for all such people were not merely geriatric products of a former age but were indeed the __________ heirs of much experience.

Possible Answers:

dubious . . . seniors . . . belligerent

proverbial . . . superiors . . . famous

universal . . . elders . . . sagacious

pedantic . . . subordinates . . . forgers

placating . . . agents . . . appreciable

Correct answer:

universal . . . elders . . . sagacious

Explanation:

The best two clues in this sentence are "all" and "geriatric." The latter adjective describes people who are elderly. (Think of a "geriatric nurse" who cares for the elderly.) Thus, the people in question are "elders." This is slightly better than "seniors." Also, "seniors" is paired with words that do not work for this sentence. Since "all" such people are experienced, it is understandable that Harvey believed that they were universally (or everywhere and by everyone) believed to be worthy of being heard. Finally, be the recipients of experience would make one wise. To be "sagacious" is to have such wisdom. (Think of the related word "sage," meaning a wise person.)

Example Question #5 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The new scientific __________ presented a complete __________, accounting even for the most __________ details in addition to many macroscopic phenomena, though the final certainty of the system remained to be determined.

Possible Answers:

invention . . . solution . . . intricate

undertaking . . . outline . . . jejune

discovery . . . scope . . . distant

theory . . . ontology . . . minute

inquest . . . schematization . . . staggering

Correct answer:

theory . . . ontology . . . minute

Explanation:

The easiest blank in this question is the final one. There is a contrast between "macroscopic" and the third blank. Phenomena that are "macroscopic" are large enough to be seen with the unaided eye—with no instruments. In contrast to this, something "minute" is small—like miniature or the prefix "mini-." (Note, the word is pronounced "my-noot." This might help you to memorize it and not confuse it with the measurement of time, "minute.") 

The first blank is relatively easy to fill in as well. Since the "final certainty of the system remained to be determined," this meant that the scientific discovery was not complete. A "theory" is a conjectural explanation, not necessarily complete. This is the best first choice. Finally, since this theory attempts to provide all of the details of the world—from top to bottom (or, better, from little to big)—it provides a complete "ontology"—that is, a complete theory of "being."

Example Question #3 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Even though many small towns are at most fifty miles from __________ centers of city life, they can be quite __________, often lacking even general __________ for the cultural offerings found in such lively cities.

Possible Answers:

aesthetic . . . acculturated . . . plasticity

redoubtable . . . remarkable . . . mediation

heinous . . . hackneyed . . . regard

redundant . . . fatuous . . . awareness

vibrant . . . insular . . . appreciation

Correct answer:

vibrant . . . insular . . . appreciation

Explanation:

The first blank is perhaps the most easily completed. It uses the adjective "lively" as its main clue. The only really tempting wrong answer would be "aesthetic," meaning dealing with or pertaining to the arts; however, that is a bit too specific for the general remark about "cultural offerings." Therefore, since we know that the cities are "lively," we can also say that they are "vibrant." The small towns seem to lack appreciation for these sorts of matters—hence, the third blank's answer. To have such a lack of appreciation implies a lack of culture. For this, the word "insular" works well, for it means isolated and disinterested in new cultural knowledge. It comes from the Latin for "island." Insular people are like people on an island away from the rest of the world.

Example Question #7 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

After experiencing a(n) __________, the new believer can often act as a(n) __________, seeking out new converts with great __________.

Possible Answers:

deconstruction . . . aggressor . . . abhorrence

revelation . . . intermediary . . . alacrity

conversion . . . proselytizer . . . zeal

revival . . . promoter . . . fastidiousness

sermon . . . preacher . . . concern

Correct answer:

conversion . . . proselytizer . . . zeal

Explanation:

The best clues in this sentence are "new believer" and "seeking out new converts." The latter helps us to find the second blank. A "proselyte" is a new convert to a religion, and a "proselytizer" is someone who looks for such new converts. Likewise, since the believer is new, we can guess that he or she has experienced a conversion—meaning that he or she has "turned" from a former way of life to a new way of life in the given religion or group. (The "-vers-" portion of the word comes from the Latin for "to turn." It is found in words like "reverse" and "adverse.") Finally, such a person will do such conversion work with great ambition and energy. To be "zealous" is to act in such a manner. The word is related to the word "jealous"—and jealousy does indeed often lead to great zeal!

Example Question #4 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Three Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Herman's __________ personality was quite amazing in contrast to his sister, who was quite __________.  Every social event was __________ with the sound of her voice, which seemed to fill the room with its prolix stream.

Possible Answers:

contumacious . . . talkative . . . overwhelmed

verbose . . . taciturn . . . redolent

metaphorical . . . direct . . . punctuated

morose . . . joyous . . . ebullient

laconic . . . loquacious . . . inundated

Correct answer:

laconic . . . loquacious . . . inundated

Explanation:

The best initial clue for this sentence is the description "prolix stream." The word "prolix" means, in short, wordy. It comes from roots that are related to "liquid"—as though the words are flowing. Therefore, all we know is that Herman's sister is very talkative. "Loquacious" means this. The word is related to "colloquy," "elocution," and "eloquent"—all words pertaining to speech. The option containing "talkative" does not work because "contumacious" means inflexibly disobedient. This is not a good contrast to "loquacious"; however, "laconic" is, for it means terse or pithy, or in other words, not using many words. Finally, to "inundate" something is to overwhelm it. The word comes from roots that mean "flood" or "wave." (An "undulating" motion is one that is in a wave-like pattern.) The room was filled and overwhelmed by Herman's sister's voice because she was so talkative!

Example Question #36 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

Due to his previous problems with alcoholism, Steve voluntarily joined a(n) __________ program to help with his __________ addiction, but he was unable to resist temptation and eventually succumbed to a(n) __________ lifestyle.

Possible Answers:

Hostile . . . Remorseful . . . Objective 

Obsolete . . . Underwhelming . . . Homogenous

Superficial . . . Deleterious . . . Abstemious

Clandestine . . . Garrulous . . . Subjective 

Abstinence . . . Unremitting . . . Bacchanal

Correct answer:

Abstinence . . . Unremitting . . . Bacchanal

Explanation:

You are told in the sentence that Steve has had problems with alcoholism, it would therefore make sense for him to join an "abstinence" program. "Abstinence" means the act of restraining from participating in something addictive or harmful, particularly drugs or alcohol. An adjective that might reasonably be used to describe an addiction is "unremitting." This word means incessant, ceaseless and constant. Finally, you are told that Steve fails to stick to his program of abstinence and succumbs to a certain lifestyle. Because it is likely to be a lifestyle associated with drunken behavior the correct answer choice is "bacchanal." To provide additional help, "superficial" means not important, not real; "deleterious" means harmful; "abstemious" means abstaining from something, not participating in something enjoyable; "hostile" means aggressive; "remorseful" means feeling bad or sorry for some past wrong; "objective" means based on fact, not biased; "subjective" means based on opinion, biased; "obsolete" means outdated, no longer useful; "homogenous" means the same as, similar; "clandestine" means secretive; "garrulous" means talkative

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