GRE Verbal : Nouns and Verbs 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 Verbs In Two Blank Texts

The soldier grabbed a __________ to fight the invaders although it could not __________ their armor.

Possible Answers:

ruse . . . cajole

tome . . . laud

lance . . . breach

savant . . . goad

receptacle . . . grasp

Correct answer:

lance . . . breach

Explanation:

The sentence refers to a "soldier" and "invaders," giving a military theme to the sentence. The first blank must mean some kind of weapon, while the second blank indicates harming the "armor." "Lance," a spear or long spike, and "breach," meaning to penetrate, together make up the correct answer. 

Example Question #1311 : Text Completion

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

In his brief __________, he __________ his correspondents for their inability to reply in a timely manner.

Possible Answers:

tome . . . lauded

epistle . . . lambasted

hiatus . . . equivocated

recapitulation . . . summarized

extradition . . . debilitated

Correct answer:

epistle . . . lambasted

Explanation:

The sentence discusses the "correspondents" being late with replies. This indicates a back and forth in communication, and an "epistle" is a letter. Since the recipients are being criticized, or "lambasted," both words fit the sentence.

Example Question #1312 : Text Completion

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

As hundreds of cars were __________ by the traffic jam and brought to a standstill, Francine felt like a __________ as she rode her bicycle past them in the bike lane, the only one not prevented from getting to work on time.

Possible Answers:

prevaricated . . . iconoclast

piqued . . . neophyte

obviated . . . anathema

impeded . . . maverick

obstructed . . . zealot

Correct answer:

impeded . . . maverick

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need a verb that means something like stopped. Either "impeded" (delayed; prevented; hindered) or "obstructed" (blocked) could work. For the second blank, we need a noun that describes a person who does something different from the rest of a group. Between "maverick" (an independent individual who does follow the rest of a group) and "zealot" (fanatic or radical), "maverick" is the better choice, so the answer is "impeded . . . maverick."

Example Question #1313 : Text Completion

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

When planning any trip, it is advisable to consider any number of potential __________.  Any number of unforseen events can delay the trip, potentially __________ one's mood upon arrival at the destination.

Possible Answers:

disasters . . . ruining

contingencies . . . souring

vexations . . . jaundicing

delays . . . unsettling

factors . . . changing

Correct answer:

contingencies . . . souring

Explanation:

The key phrase is in the second sentence is "unforseen events." This does not necessarily imply negativity, therefore weakening the case for "vexations . . . jaundicing" and "disasters . . . ruining." Even "delays . . . unsettling" is a bit negative, and if nothing else duplicates content found in the second sentence. Although "factors" might be tempting, the sense of "contingencies" is closest to "unforseen events"—at least insofar as such events rely upon any number of contingent factors. Although "souring" might seem informal, it does capture the necessary sense for the second sentence and there is acceptable. The correct answer is thus "contingencies . . . souring."

Example Question #1314 : Text Completion

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

The old man had the reputation for being a __________. Many of his words were delivered to __________ events that he believed inevitable in the given circumstances.

Possible Answers:

soothsayer . . . portend

troublemaker . . . precipitate

savior . . . prevent

yammerer . . . spread

crank . . . berate

Correct answer:

soothsayer . . . portend

Explanation:

In this case, the question requires us to strech the meaning a bit, but the sense remains. The man's words have a predictive character to them, so it is fair to say that they "portend" future events. The word comes from the combination of the prefix "por," which is related to "fore" and is derived from the Latin "tendere," meaning to stretch. Portending events point toward future events. We can consider the man's words themselves as portending future events.

Example Question #1315 : Text Completion

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

The old dictator continued to rule by __________; however, in his old age, derangement led him to do this above all by __________ unexpected new meanings for venerable public phrases.

Possible Answers:

mania . . . defining

inconsistency . . . fabricating

treachery . . . offering

fiat . . . stipulating

control . . . considering

Correct answer:

fiat . . . stipulating

Explanation:

The dictator's rule is marked by doing things unexpectedly and preumably without much express reason. In his old age, it is shown by the verbal oddities that he desired to impose on the people. "Offering" partially fits the second blank, but its correlated "treachery" really is too far from the needed meaning. Likewise, "defining" only partially fulfills our purposes and "mania" is only a remote possibility. "Inconsistency" and "fabricating" are perhaps more tempting, and understandably should be placed on our "short list"; however, the best fit is "fiat" and "stipulating." To rule by fiat means to rule by mere declaration. Likewise, to "stipulate" means to assign or specify. A stipulative definition is one that assigns a meaning to an already existing term, perhaps in contradiction to the existing definition.

Example Question #1316 : Text Completion

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

"The __________ think they know everything," said the frustrated politician, who decided she would __________ listening to the "expert" media coverage of her speeches from then on.

Possible Answers:

pundits . . . eschew

partisans . . . variegate

partisans . . . eschew

vagrants . . . persevere

pundits . . . persevere

Correct answer:

pundits . . . eschew

Explanation:

The media coverage is by expert opinion-givers, or "pundits." Nothing in the sentence says for sure that the coverage is done by "partisans," or people strongly on one side of an issue. "Eschew" means to avoid, which seems to be suggested for the second choice.

Example Question #1317 : Text Completion

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

The student showed surprising __________ at his own academic misconduct hearing, disappointing the teachers who had __________ for him to be allowed back into the program he had been barred from.

Possible Answers:

boisterousness . . . vacillated

levity . . . advocated

cogency . . . equivocated

frivolity . . . ameliorated

probity . . . averred

Correct answer:

levity . . . advocated

Explanation:

For the first blank, we're looking for an adjective that describes the student's inappropriate lightheartedness; either "levity" (lightheartedness, especially in a situation in which it is inappropriate) or "frivolity" (lack of seriousness) could work. For the second blank, we need a verb that means something like "supported"; in choosing between "ameliorated," (improve) and "advocated" (supported publicly), "advocated" is the better choice, so the answer is "levity . . . advocated."

Example Question #1318 : Text Completion

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

Plays by that playwright often feature clever thieves who use __________ to __________ their victims’ money.

Possible Answers:

sedulousness . . . attenuate

bombast . . . escape with

chicanery . . . abscond with

erudition . . . annex

perspicacity . . . waylay

Correct answer:

chicanery . . . abscond with

Explanation:

Let's start with the second blank. We're looking for a word that means take or steal, and knowing that, we can eliminate the choices that include "waylay," "attenuate," and "annex." This leaves us with "escape with" and "abscond with," and two choices for the first blank: "bombast" and "chicanery." Since "bombast" means fancy but mostly meaningless language and "chicanery" means trickery, the correct answer is "chicanery . . . abscond with."

Example Question #1319 : Text Completion

The salesman continuously praised the medicine he was trying to sell, __________ its amazing ability to cure everything from the common cold to dry skin to hair loss; however, not many of his listeners believed that the medicine was the ___________ he claimed it was.

Possible Answers:

describing . . . zenith

rescinding . . . odyssey

criticizing . . . cure-all

deviating . . . kudos

extolling . . . panacea

Correct answer:

extolling . . . panacea

Explanation:

We can tell from the context of the sentence that for the first blank, we're looking for a verb that means something like "praising." Of the available choices, either "describing" or "extolling" ("praising enthusiastically")  could work. For the second blank, we need a noun that describes something that is supposedly able to cure lots of problems. Either "cure-all" or "panacea" ("a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases") could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "extolling" and "panacea" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "extolling . . . panacea."

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