GRE Verbal : Two 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 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Texts

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

After __________ the mined copper and tin to rid the metals of impurities, the refinery __________ the two elements in a single sand mold to create bronze.

Possible Answers:

vitiating . . . combines

propitiating . . . separates

rarefying . . . amalgamates

homogenizing . . . catalyzes

justifying . . . exhumes

Correct answer:

rarefying . . . amalgamates

Explanation:

For the first blank, we are looking for a word which means to rid of impurities, so we should focus on "rarefying," which means just that, and "homogenizing," which means to make uniform. For the second blank, we need a word that means to combine, since the metals are being poured into one mold. Since "amalgamates" means combines different things into one, the correct answer is "rarefying . . . amalgamates." 

Example Question #2 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Texts

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

Paschal was not known to __________ when discussing difficult topics; he did not fear __________ his friends by directly addressing difficult issues.

Possible Answers:

defer . . . vexing

dissimulate . . . emending

lie . . . boring

circumlocute . . . disconcerting

dramatize . . . angering

Correct answer:

circumlocute . . . disconcerting

Explanation:

The key points to heed are that the topics are "difficult" and that Paschal did not fear directly addressing issues. Really, the easiest way to begin with this is to see that "circumlocute" particularly fits the bill for the first blank and to note that "disconcerting" likewise works well. Circumlocute comes from the Latin for to talk ("locute") and around ("circum"). The other options are tempting, but none of them catch the sense in such a manner that so directly matches Paschal's desire to directly address issues.

Example Question #3 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Texts

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

Medieval medicine was notoriously risky; most treatments were as likely to __________ symptoms as they were to __________ them.

Possible Answers:

abrogate . . . reprieve

engender . . . worsen

hamper . . . create

exacerbate . . . allay

nullify . . . enhance

Correct answer:

exacerbate . . . allay

Explanation:

Because medieval treatments were risky, we know that they were as likely to hurt patients as they were to help them. So, because the missing words both refer to symptoms, we’re looking for a synonym of cause or increase for the first blank, and a synonym for lessen for the second blank. We can eliminate the answer choices that include “hamper,” “nullify,” and “abrogate” as options for the first blank, leaving us with “exacerbate . . . allay” and “engender . . . worsen.” Since we’re looking for a word for the second blank that means lessen, we can eliminate “engender . . . worsen,” since “worsen” means the opposite of “lessen.” So, the correct answer is “exacerbate . . . allay.” 

Example Question #4 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Texts

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

Authoritarian regimes often lead to a __________ in civic spirit. Although the often begin by __________ the people to high-spirited patriotism, they often end by creating wholly cynical citizens.

Possible Answers:

decline . . . inciting

coup . . . deceiving

waning . . . discouraging

waxing . . . leading

increase . . . inviting

Correct answer:

decline . . . inciting

Explanation:

The key phrase is "although . . ." and the sense of the juxtaposition is completed by "they often end by creating wholly cynical citizens." The sense is that the regimes begin by making the citizens very engaged, but they end in destroying this civic involvement; therefore, we can immediately eliminate "increase . . . inviting", "coup . . . deceiving," "waxing . . . leading", and "waning . . . discouraging." The best fit is "decline . . . inciting" because it captures the sense of the loss of spirit as well as its initial inspiration (even if through incitement).

Example Question #4 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Texts

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

The popular newspaper attempted to __________ the reporter who exposed the corruption of which they were part by writing articles __________ her and telling the most outrageous lies about her life that were intended to damage her reputation.

Possible Answers:

trade . . . portray

support . . . manage

vilify . . . slandering

help . . . disparaging

demonize . . . praising

Correct answer:

vilify . . . slandering

Explanation:

For the first blank, we can infer that we need to pick out a verb that means something like "ruin the reputation of," because we know that the reporter exposed the newspaper's corruption. Either "demonize" ("portray as wicked and threatening") or "vilify" ("speak or write about in an abusively disparaging manner") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that means something like "write things intended to damage one's reputation," so either "slandering" ("making false and damaging statements about (someone)") or "disparaging" ("regarding or representing as being of little worth") could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "vilify" and "slandering" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "vilify . . . slandering."

Example Question #6 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Texts

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

The once-trendy restaurant's popularity had __________ to the point that we were able to __________ a reservation for that very night.

Possible Answers:

flourished . . . procure

ebbed . . . proffer

waned . . . secure

extenuated . . . surmise

Correct answer:

waned . . . secure

Explanation:

If this restaurant's popularity has increased, we would expect it to be difficult to reserve a table for the same night; conversely, if its popularity has declined, it would be relatively easy to get a same-day reservation. The end of the sentence ("we were able to") tells us that the latter scenario (diminished popularity/ better odds of getting a reservation) is the case here. For the first blank, either "waned" or "ebbed" would fit, as these are synonyms meaning decreased. "Secure" and "procure" in the second blank would both mean that you were able to obtain a reservation. "Proffer" (offer) would not make sense. Thus, the pairing of waned/secure is the correct answer.

Example Question #5 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Texts

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

When the emperor declared that the monasteries would be closed, the monks __________ from all around the countryside and __________ upon the imperial capital as a group to protest this action.

Possible Answers:

fled . . . wended

congregated . . . swarmed

dispersed . . . argued

hurried . . . militated

reclined . . . rushed

Correct answer:

congregated . . . swarmed

Explanation:

The best clue in this sentence is the word "upon," which indicates that the monks apparently came to the city in protest. Likewise, it is important to notice that they came as a "group." Thus, we should say that they gathered together, not that they fled together. The general idea is that they gathered and then all "stormed" the city in protest. The word "congregate" means come together in a crowd.  A church "congregation" is called such because it is a gathering of people.  Based upon its Latin roots, it is literally a "flocking together." The monks gathered and then all together "swarmed"—i.e. moved as one large group—upon the capital city in protest as a swarming group. Swarming insects are so called because they act as a group made up of many individuals.

Example Question #6 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Texts

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

Although the mischievous student could not __________ from clowning around in class, he did attempt to __________ the teacher by giving her an apple.

Possible Answers:

mitigate . . . recuperate

mitigate . . . placate

abstain . . . placate

mitigate . . . horrify

abstain . . . horrify

Correct answer:

abstain . . . placate

Explanation:

"Mitigate" means to lessen damage, while "impute" means to attribute or ascribe. Only "abstain" means to stop from doing something bad. In the second blank, the student is trying to undo the damage, so "horrify" does not make sense, and "recuperate" means to recover. Only "placate" means to lessen damage.

Example Question #9 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Texts

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

Heather could not believe that the smell of the gas had __________ through the whole house; the small inlet pipe seemed capable of __________ only the tiniest quantity of vapor.

Possible Answers:

concentrated . . . burgeoning

overwhelmed . . . spraying

diffused . . . emitting

niggled . . . relieving

burnished . . . collecting

Correct answer:

diffused . . . emitting

Explanation:

The best clue for starting this question is "only the tiniest quantity of vapor." It seemed that the inlet for the pipe could allow in only a small quantity of gas. However, it seems that more had happened—for Heather was surprised at something. The general idea is that gas had spread throughout the house. Hence, "diffused" is an excellent first choice, and "emitting" well describes the general act of allowing a substance to "go forth" (as would happen with the gas coming out of the pipe). ("Emit" comes from Latin roots literally meaning to send forth. To "trans-mit" means to send ("-mit") across ("trans-").)

Example Question #10 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Texts

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

Although his brother argued that the meal would be large enough for both of the men, Benjamin __________ that it would hardly __________ one of them.

Possible Answers:

announced . . . amuse

contended . . . satiate

opined . . . charm

thought . . . nettle

disagreed . . . please

Correct answer:

contended . . . satiate

Explanation:

Clearly, the first blank has to be something describing the act of stating an opinion and (likely) defending it. Many of the choices provided would fit that role; therefore, the best thing to look at in a case like this is the second blank and the options provided for it. Almost all of the wrong answers have something to do with pleasing or displeasing. This is not the point of disagreement between the two brothers. They disagree as to whether or not the meal will be filling. Therefore, the best option for the second blank is "satiate," meaning to satisfy or fill.

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