GRE Verbal : Verbs 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 : Text Completion

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

The nanny __________ the little boy after she found him climbing __________ on a __________ balanced pile of boulders, completely unaware of the danger in which he was putting himself.

Possible Answers:

excoriated . . . obliviously . . . propitiously

castigated . . . resolutely . . . itinerantly

exhorted . . . sedulously . . . solicitously

harangued . . . perfidiously . . . intractably

admonished . . . blithely . . . precariously

Correct answer:

admonished . . . blithely . . . precariously

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need a word that means verbally reprimanded, and "harangued," "castigated," "excoriated," and "admonished" all work. For the second blank, we need a word that describes how the boy was climbing the rocks—"completely unaware of the danger he was putting himself in." "Obliviously" and "blithely" are possible choices. The last blank describes how the pile of boulders is balanced. Choosing from between our two remaining options, "precariously" (dangerously unstable) and "propitiously" (auspiciously), we can select "admonished . . . blithely . . . precariously" as the correct answer.

Example Question #2 : Verbs 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.

Romuald had wished to reform the __________ life at the old monastery.  For years, the monks had been __________ regarding observation of their rule of life and had __________ many worldly customs.

Possible Answers:

regular . . . zealous . . . embraced

devotional . . . ecstatic . . . eschewed

prayer . . . considerate . . . evaluated

divine . . . considerate . . . spurned

quotidian . . . negligent . . . adopted

Correct answer:

quotidian . . . negligent . . . adopted

Explanation:

The sense is that Romuald wanted to reform something customary in the monastery.  Although many of the answers are tempting (e.g. prayer is customary in a monastery), "quotidian" life would be daily (i.e. customary) life. The second sentence explains the reason for his desire for reform. Although the monks might have been "considerate" toward such changes, it is rather unlikely that this would have led to Romuald's desire to reform the monastery as much as "negligence" would have; therefore, we should choose the answer that reflects both negligence and the description of that negligence—the adoption of worldly customs.

Example Question #3 : Verbs 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.

Her bedroom window was __________ by curtains, yet the material was so __________ that he could clearly see her form __________ by the setting sun. 

Possible Answers:

sequestered . . . evanescent . . . inured 

hidden . . . redolent . . . masked

obscured . . . diaphanous . . . limned

revealed . . . substantial . . . silhouetted

decorated . . . flimsy . . . shrouded

Correct answer:

obscured . . . diaphanous . . . limned

Explanation:

In this sentence, someone is watching a woman from outside her bedroom window, which has curtains on or around it. Despite the curtains, however, he can "clearly see" the woman.  This indicates that the first word has something to do with the intention of curtains to block sight, and the second indicates that the curtain isn't doing this. The third word is another way of stating exactly how clearly he can see the woman's body. 

Taking it one word at a time, "revealed" is the opposite of what the sentence implies, and "sequestered" refers to an object being hidden, not a view. The window might plausibly be obscured,  hidden, or decorated by curtains; however, "redolent" means smelling strongly of, which would be a nonsensical way to describe curtains in this context. For the third word, "shrouded" implies covered in cloth, and the woman can be "clearly seen"; therefore the only word set that works is "obscured," (meaning covered from sight) "diaphanous,"(meaning sheer or transparent) and "limned" (meaning outlined).

Example Question #4 : Verbs 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 editor reduced the introduction from ten __________ pages to two __________ paragraphs by __________ all of the unnecessary verbal flourishes that riddled its sentences.

Possible Answers:

turgid . . . concise . . . qualifying

officious . . . sedulous . . . bolstering

immutable . . . intransigent . . . inhibiting

tortuous . . . succinct . . . excising

florid . . . trenchant . . . expiating

Correct answer:

tortuous . . . succinct . . . excising

Explanation:

We know that the introduction is edited from ten pages to two paragraphs, so we should look for a pair of adjectives for the first two blanks that emphasize its initial length and its later brevity. "Turgid . . . concise" and "tortuous . . . succinct" each do that. For the third blank, we need a verb that means something like trimming. Choosing between "excising" (surgically removing; removing (a section) from a text) and "qualifying" (making (a statement or assertion) less absolute; adding reservations to), "excising" is the better choice, so the answer is "tortuous . . . succinct . . . excising."

Example Question #5 : Verbs 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 intern was __________ with stacks of paperwork that covered his entire desk on the first day of his new job, but luckily, he managed to sort through it by working __________ throughout the day and ignoring potential distractions, and __________ out of the office at the end of the day, tremendously proud of his clean desk.

Possible Answers:

overrun . . . itinerantly . . . weltered

inundated . . . assiduously . . . strutted

attenuated . . . perfidiously . . . vacillated

palliated . . . solicitously . . . simpered

overwhelmed . . . sedulously . . . burgeoned

Correct answer:

inundated . . . assiduously . . . strutted

Explanation:

For the first blank, we're looking for a verb that reflects how much work the intern was suddenly presented with; either "overwhelmed," "overrun," or "inundated" (flooded or overwhelmed) could work. For the second blank, we're looking for an adverb that means something like "diligently"; possible options include "assiduously" (unceasingly; persistently) and "sedulously" (involving perseverance and diligence). For the final blank, we need a verb that means "to walk proudly;" since "strut" means to walk as if proud of oneself and "burgeon" means begin to grow or flourish, "strut" is the better choice, and the answer is "inundated, assiduously, strutted."

Example Question #6 : Parts Of Speech In Three Blank Texts

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

The fashion show featured pieces inspired by __________ styles, and the models were __________ in pieces that __________ to Greek togas, knightly armor, and trailing dresses with underskirts and bustles. 

Possible Answers:

apocryphal . . . eulogized . . . impugned

ancient . . . feigned . . . castigated

antiquated . . . arrayed . . . abated

archaic . . . garbed . . . alluded

banal . . . placated . . . appropriated

Correct answer:

archaic . . . garbed . . . alluded

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need to find an adjective that means something like old. "Antiquated," "archaic," and "ancient" could each work. For the second blank, we need a verb that means something like "dressed"; either "garbed" or "arrayed" could fit. For the third blank, we're looking for a verb that means something like "evoked," since we know the pieces were "inspired by (old) styles." Since to "allude" means recall another work of art or style to point out a relationship with it when it refers to an artist or a work of art, and "abate" is used to refer to negative things and means become less intense or widespread, "alluded" is the better choice and the answer is "archaic . . . garbed . . . alluded."

Example Question #1 : Text Completion

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

The __________ cat refused to walk around tamely on a leash, but the __________ dog not only heeled, but obeyed each of its master's commands obediently and never needed to be __________ for not listening.

Possible Answers:

credulous . . . insipid . . . aggrandized

pernicious . . . prodigal . . . flouted

recalcitrant . . . tractable . . . admonished

truculent . . . complaisant . . . impeded

obstreperous . . . dogmatic . . . countenanced

Correct answer:

recalcitrant . . . tractable . . . admonished

Explanation:

Since the cat refuses to be leashed, we need an adjective for the first blank that means something like stubborn or resistant. "Recalcitrant" (obstinately uncooperative toward authority), "obstreperous" (noisy and difficult to control), and "truculent" (aggressively defiant) could each work in the first blank. For the second blank, we need an adjective that conveys the dog's obedience—either "tractable" (easy to control or influence) or "complaisant" (willing to please others; obliging) could work. For the third blank, we need a verb that means something like scolded; in choosing between "admonished" (warned or reprimanded firmly) and "impeded" (hindered; obstructed), "admonished" is the better choice, so the answer is "recalcitrant . . . tractable . . . admonished."

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

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

He was __________ and never wasted words, but his sister was __________ and loved to __________ cheerfully to anyone about even the most inconsequential topics.

Possible Answers:

terse . . . verbose . . . harangue

lithe . . . boorish . . . lampoon

hedonistic . . . ascetic . . . abstain

laconic . . . loquacious . . . prattle

enigmatic . . . ponderous . . . chatter

Correct answer:

laconic . . . loquacious . . . prattle

Explanation:

We know from the structure of the sentence—specifically the "but"—that we are dealing with opposites. Whichever word we pick for the first blank, the second blank needs to be its antonym. We know that the guy the sentence refers to is not talkative, so we can eliminate all of the answer choices except for "laconic," "terse," and "enigmatic." Looking at the next blank, our choices are "laconic . . . loquacious," "terse . . . verbose," and "enigmatic . . . ponderous."

We can eliminate "enigmatic . . . ponderous" as the two words are not opposites. For the third blank, we need a word that makes sense with "cheerfully" and the sister's interest in any topic. Between "prattle" and "harangue," we should choose "prattle," as it means to babble or to talk in a foolish way about unimportant topics instead of "harangue," which means to criticize someone aggressively out loud. So, the correct answer is "laconic . . . loquacious . . . prattle."

Example Question #3 : Text Completion

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

The painting __________ the image of a bishop with quite __________ features, for the artist wished to express the wickedness that he perceived in the life of the __________ figure.

Possible Answers:

copied . . . gregarious . . . public

presented . . . illuminated . . . sagacious

depicted . . . fiendish . . . ecclesiastical

recounted . . . hedonistic . . . penurious

graced . . . supple . . . devilish          

Correct answer:

depicted . . . fiendish . . . ecclesiastical

Explanation:

The word "wickedness" is really the primary clue for this sentence. The word "fiendish" means devil-like, and this seems to be what the picture is trying to express. The adjective "ecclesiastical" means church-related and is often used to describe people like "bishops" who are "ecclesiastical figures" or "ecclesiastical servants" in the way we speak of "civil servants" working in the government. The first blank is best being "depicted," for this is closer to how a painting expresses its unique take on reality (in contrast to "recounting" or even to mere "copying"). (Note that this sentence is based upon a real story of a Dutch painter and not a "shot" taken at all ecclesiastical figures!)

Example Question #9 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Three Blank Texts

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

As the blood around the wound began to __________, the increasingly viscous substance helped to __________ the continued flow of the __________ fluids.

Possible Answers:

seep . . . block . . . intravenous

restore . . . alleviate . . . salubrious

drain . . . impede . . . recalcitrant

trickle . . . deny . . . dangerous

coagulate . . . stanch . . . vital

Correct answer:

coagulate . . . stanch . . . vital

Explanation:

The clearest clue in this sentence is the remark that the blood is an "increasingly viscous substance." Viscosity is the thickness of a fluid. If the blood is becoming "thicker," this means that it is beginning to "coagulate." This is the technical term for a fluid becoming thick, most often applied to thickening blood. This helps to stop the continued flow of blood. To "stanch" a wound is to do just that. Finally, the bodily fluids are fairly called "vital fluids," meaning fluids needed for living. This is a sufficient choice for this last blank.

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