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

The old man was known by all to be a              . He spent little on himself and was particularly               with the needs and wants of his family.

Possible Answers:

scrooge . . . nasty

miser . . . parsimonious

rake . . . effusive

troglodyte . . . ebbulient

cheapskate . . . pecuniary

Correct answer:

miser . . . parsimonious

Explanation:

A number of these answers are meant to be traps, though not all for the same reason.  Clearly a matter of money is involved, so one might want to call the old man a "scrooge" but this fails not only because of its colloquial tone but also because "nasty" doesn't fit.  "Pecuniary" tries to catch one who has a good vocabulary but is not appropriate at all in this context. He might have been a "rake" but certainly couldn't be effusive with his family's needs. The answer with "troglodyte" doesn't make sense. "Miser . . . parsimonious" fits perfectly.

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

One could call the small town rather                  , for most of its inhabitants knew little more than the saws and                     repeated for generations by others who had not left the same locality.

Possible Answers:

pedantic . . . legalities

insular . . . maxims

magnanimous . . . advice

boring . . . hammers

Lilliputian . . . lessons

Correct answer:

insular . . . maxims

Explanation:

The sense of the sentence is that the people do not leave the area often and rarely receive new insights from outside their precincts. Saws are more than tools used in the shop—they are also proverbs. Hence, don't be tempted by the amusing "hammers." Although "lessons" might be tempting, Lilliputian (from Gulliver's travels) means trivial or small (often taken physically). Perhaps one could consider the town to be Lilliputian, but "insular" would be better—and "maxims" particularly matches well with "saws." "Insular" is derived from the Latin word for island, indicating isolation.

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

The notoriously                      boss often seemed like he loved talking to his employees, while many other times he dismissed them with short answers and seemed like a                   
.

Possible Answers:

mercurial . . . misanthrope

gregarious . . . misanthrope

melancholy . . . dolt

mercurial . . . dolt

melancholy . . . hypochondriac

Correct answer:

mercurial . . . misanthrope

Explanation:

The boss switches between vastly different personalities, so he is volatile or mercurial. When he is dismissing them with short answers, he is being a "misanthrope," not a "dolt," which implies he is stupid, or a "hypochondriac," which means he is paranoid about his health.

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

The text's meaning was so __________ that no __________ could make it truly understandable.

Possible Answers:

equivocal . . . debunking

loquacious . . . parsimony

resplendent . . . pontification

arrogant . . . refutation

obscure . . . exegesis

Correct answer:

obscure . . . exegesis

Explanation:

The "text's meaning" is difficult to understand, even with some effort, as represented in the second blank. "Obscure," meaning difficult to understand, and "exegesis," meaning a lengthy analysis and interpretation, form the correct answer.

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

Claire’s __________ of the cold was understandable since it was directly __________ to her love of the summer heat.

Possible Answers:

admiration . . . harmonious

veneration . . . antithetical

antipathy . . . harmonious

admiration . . . antitheical

antipathy . . . antithetical

Correct answer:

antipathy . . . antithetical

Explanation:

Antipathy—a natural, basic or habitual repugnance, aversion.

Antithetical—directly opposed and contrasted, opposite.

Claire hates the cold, but loves the heat. 

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

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

From the time of her birth, the girl had been __________, always disobeying the __________ of her elders.

Possible Answers:

willful . . . insights

unflinching . . . sagacity

childish . . . recommendations

vexing . . . tedium

refractory . . . injunctions

Correct answer:

refractory . . . injunctions

Explanation:

The sense of the first term is that the girl is to be described as stubborn or disobedient (as is clear from the rest of the sentence). The second blank appears to indicate some sort of suggestions or (better) commands given her by her elders. To this end, "refractory . . . injunctions" fits best. Probably the most tempting answers are "unflinching . . . sagacity" and "willful . . . insights." The latter only fits closely enough for "willful." In the case of the former, process of elimination will show that "refractory . . . injunctions" is a closer fit. Always remember the importance of eliminating answers so you can make this kind of intelligent decision.

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

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

The young street fighter’s attitude matched his demeanor in the fighting ring; it was quite __________ and could leave cutting psychological wounds as damaging as any physical __________.

Possible Answers:

fanatical . . . blow

pugnacious . . . laceration

high-toned . . . hurt

tumid . . . bruise

bombastic . . . trauma

Correct answer:

pugnacious . . . laceration

Explanation:

Do not be tempted by "bombastic . . . trauma" or "fanatical . . . blow." The key thing to note is the similarity of the fighter's demeanor in and out of the ring. The word "pugnacious" comes from the Latin pugnare, "to fight." Someone who is "pugnacious" is quick to argue or has the appearance of a fighter. A related word is "pugilist," which means a boxer.

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

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

Reactions to the novelist’s most recent work are surprisingly polarized; if a review is not a(n) __________ celebrating the work's modern elements, it is a __________ critique perceiving the same elements as blatant flaws. 

Possible Answers:

panegyric . . . caustic

encomium . . . deferent

complaint . . . fervent

diatribe . . . verbose

eulogy . . . dispassionate

Correct answer:

panegyric . . . caustic

Explanation:

Since the reviews of the novelist's work are polarized, we should expect opposites; for the first blank, we'll need a positive noun because it "celebrates" aspects of the work, and for the second blank, we'll need a negative adjective describing the opposing critiques.

Since "complaint" and "diatribe" are negative words, we can eliminate these answers, as well as "eulogy," which is specifically a speech or writing in praise of someone who has recently died. We're left with "encomium" and "panegyric," both of which refer to written works of praise and fit in the sentence's first blank. Of the remaining choices' second words, "caustic," meaning highly critical, works in the second blank, while "deferent" does not, because it has a positive meaning of respectful. So, the correct answer is "panegyric . . . caustic."

Example Question #6 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Texts

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

Suzy thought Kevin would prove to be ­­­­­­­­­­­__________, but she discovered instead that his behavior was such a model of __________ that he could never be considered a spendthrift.

Possible Answers:

abstemious . . . dissipation

prodigal . . . frugality

perfidious . . . reticence

profligate . . . piety

salubrious . . . prudence

Correct answer:

prodigal . . . frugality

Explanation:

The sentence is about Kevin's perceived spending habits. Suzy expects something about him, but discovers the opposite to be true, where the truth is "he could never be considered a spendthrift." This indicates that she expected him to be wasteful but found that expectation to be wrong, so the two words have to be opposites, with the first meaning something like wasteful, and the second meaning something like careful or thrifty

The only two words that mean something like wasteful are "profligate" and "prodigal." "Abstemious" is more like the opposite of wasteful; it means abstaining from vices. "Perfidious" means evil or dangerous, and "salubrious" means beneficial or fortunate, so those are out.

The second word needs to mean the opposite of spendthrift. "Piety" is the quality of being religious and says nothing about a person's spending habits, so the correct answer is "prodigal . . . frugality."

Example Question #10 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Texts

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

Although the politican contested the claims as pure __________, the journalist guaranteed they were __________.

Possible Answers:

calumny . . . indubitable

torpor . . . specious

hearsay . . . fastidious

guile . . . stolid

drivel . . . ephemeral

Correct answer:

calumny . . . indubitable

Explanation:

The word "although" offers a clue that the words that go in the blanks are opposing words; "calumny" (a misrepresentation meaning to harm one's reputation) and "indubitable" (too evident to be doubted) are the best fit.

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