GRE Verbal : Style, Intensity, and Connotation in Two-Blank Texts

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1244 : Text Completion

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

The collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is vast and __________, covering thousands of years of worldwide art history; thus, to __________ the collection, it would take several days at the very least.

Possible Answers:

fragmentary . . . patrol

archaic . . . perpetuate

biased . . . catalogue

comprehensive . . . capitalize on

expansive . . . scrutinize

Correct answer:

expansive . . . scrutinize

Explanation:

In regard to the first blank, "expansive" (extensive in size or topic) and "comprehensive" (complete) are very similar words. However, the sentence notes that the collection "covers thousands of years of art history," which speaks of breadth, not complete depth. Thus, "expansive" is a more exact term and the correct answer.

In regard to the second blank, the second clause of the sentence speaks of it taking a long time to do something to the collection. "Capitalize" (exploit) does not work well by its definition, while "scrutinize" (examine carefully) would, indeed, be something that would take several days to do in a large collection. Thus, the correct answer is "expansive . . . scrutinize."

Example Question #1245 : Text Completion

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

The professor was an utter __________; he was not merely attentive to details, but was absolutely __________ in his attention to every individual point.

Possible Answers:

pedant . . . fastidious

boor . . . proper

annoyance . . . fussy

vexation . . . maniacal

tyrant . . . logical

Correct answer:

pedant . . . fastidious

Explanation:

The easier blank to choose is the second one, for it indicates a kind of intensification from the adjectival phrase "attentive to details." The best option here is "fastidious," which means very attentive to details—an appropriate option! When a professor is so attentive to detail, it is likely that he will be called a "pedant," which describes just such an academic person.

Example Question #3 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In Two Blank Texts

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

Few would call Frederick "succinct," but his often __________ remarks did give him the appearance of such __________.

Possible Answers:

insightful . . . kindness

secretive . . . simplicity

cogent . . . profundity

pithy . . . brevity

witty . . . intelligence

Correct answer:

pithy . . . brevity

Explanation:

This sentence clearly makes a parallel between "succinct" and the second blank. The idea is that Frederick's statements appear to be short. That is, they appear to be rather brief. Hence, they have the appearance of "brevity"—meaning briefness. The word "pithy" can describe a dense part of fruit (the "pith"), but it can also mean short and expressive, describing language that pierces to its meaning directly. This seems to be an excellent description for Frederick's remarks—at least for how they appear.

Example Question #1246 : Text Completion

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

Harvey realized that he needed to __________ his position, for his friends were quite shocked by his overly bold __________.

Possible Answers:

forego . . . generations

alter . . . remarks

attenuate . . . theories

militate . . . locutions

deny . . . legions

Correct answer:

attenuate . . . theories

Explanation:

In the second clause of this sentence, it is hinted that Harvey has a bold position (i.e. bold and/or strong beliefs). It seems that he needs to change this fact, though we are not told that he should completely deny his beliefs. The word “alter” might work well for the first blank, but “attenuate” is an even better option, for it means to reduce in force—something that describes just what Harvey needs to do to his bold theories.

Example Question #5 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In Two Blank Texts

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

Throughout early modernity, it was standard to contest the unquestioning obedience paid to the thought of Aristotle, but even those who critiqued the Aristotelians were themselves __________ in their positions, rarely altering their __________ once they established them.

Possible Answers:

fatuous . . . idiocies 

dogmatic . . . beliefs

religious . . . précis

niggling . . . views

unintelligent . . . undertakings

Correct answer:

dogmatic . . . beliefs

Explanation:

We tend to think of dogmas and being “dogmatic” in terms of religious beliefs. In general, the term “dogmatic” describes a set of beliefs that are established on the strength of an authority. This describes the obedience paid to Aristotle described in the first half of this sentence. The critics, however, also did not alter their own positions much. Hence, “beliefs” is a good option for the second blank.

Example Question #6 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In Two Blank Texts

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

John did not merely stare at his students, he __________ at them in anger for __________ on and on with such foolish questions.

Possible Answers:

nettled . . . reflecting

shouted . . . speaking

glowered . . . prattling

discouraged . . . droning

berated . . . waxing

Correct answer:

glowered . . . prattling

Explanation:

We are not told much about John’s actions toward his students, other than the fact that he is staring at them. The implication is that he is staring very strongly at them—he is “not merely [staring].” The word “glower” means to scowl—a very strong sort of look.  When someone "prattles," he or she talks at length foolishly or about things that are not important. This functions well for describing the students' actions, which so vexed John.

Example Question #7 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In Two Blank Texts

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

Byron was known for his __________ style of rhetoric, which could almost cause deafness in those sitting in closest __________ to him during a speech.

Possible Answers:

stentorian . . . proximity

developed . . . quarters

taciturn . . . prominence 

eloquent . . . positions

reticent . . . distance

Correct answer:

stentorian . . . proximity

Explanation:

The main clue in this sentence is the expression, "which could almost cause deafness." This implies that Byron's speaking style was very loud. It is most likely that it had this effect on those who were sitting at the locations closest to him. The "proximity" is the close space around someone. Words related to "proximity" are "approximate" and "proxy." "Stentorian" describes a style of speaking that is very loud. This best fits the clues mentioned above.

Example Question #1 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In Two Blank Texts

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

Peter showed not only kindness to John but instead was quite __________ to his elder, for he held the older man’s intellectual work in high __________ and wished to show this by listening carefully to the latter’s every word.

Possible Answers:

altruistic . . . regard

doting . . . felicity

laconic . . . veracity

deferential . . . esteem

audible . . . mediation

Correct answer:

deferential . . . esteem

Explanation:

The first blank needs an intensified form of "kindness," but in a particular sense. It is not mere "doting" kindness offered to the older man; instead, Peter listens carefully to the old man's words, implying that he regards them highly. This means that he holds them in "high esteem." (Hence, we find the second blank first.) This helps us to ascertain the first blank. To be "deferential" is to be respectful or, more literally, to show deference, meaning to show humble respect. This works well to express Peter's disposition with adequate strength and clarity.

Example Question #2 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In Two Blank Texts

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

Greeting his mother-in-law with absolute __________, Paul was at least aware that he was showing no mere __________ in his words and gestures.

Possible Answers:

amity . . . animosity

warmth . . . love

foolishness . . . gregariousness

coolness . . . nastiness

frigidity . . . unpleasantness

Correct answer:

frigidity . . . unpleasantness

Explanation:

This sentence establishes a clear case of increased intensity. The first blank is much more intense than the second (given the use of the word "absolute"). The only option that expresses this increase in intensity is "frigidity . . . unpleasantness." "Frigidity" can mean "coldness" in an emotional manner, as in someone who is cold and unkind, basically unwilling to communicate.

Example Question #3 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In Two Blank Texts

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

The ring was no mere __________, it was a finely crafted item of __________ quality.

Possible Answers:

heirloom . . . unquestioned

blandishment . . . redoubtable

regulation . . . observed

bauble . . . superior

amity . . . heightened

Correct answer:

bauble . . . superior

Explanation:

This sentence states that the ring is a "finely crafted item"; therefore, it is no mere trinket or piece of junk. A "bauble" is a showy but worthless item. This offers a good contrast to the finely crafted item that it actually is. The quality of such a finely crafted ring would be of highest quality—or "superior," which can express such quality in general.

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