GRE Verbal : GRE Verbal Reasoning

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store varsity tutors amazon store varsity tutors ibooks store

Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Three Blank Texts

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

Laura found the conversation to be quite _______________, as though her friends were afraid of introducing any truly interesting topics for fear of ______________ the ____________ of the gathering.

Possible Answers:

aseptic . . . disturbing . . . tranquility

enervating . . . filibustering . . . details

hilarious . . . annoying . . . host

belittling . . . denigrating . . . loftiness

bombastic . . . plumbing . . . depths

Correct answer:

aseptic . . . disturbing . . . tranquility

Explanation:

The fact that Laura's friends feared to introduce anything interesting seems to hint that the conversation was quite boring and uneventful. The general idea is that it has nothing of real "bite" to it. The word "aseptic" directly means having no disease. Think of an antiseptic agent. This gets rid of anything that is diseased. A "septic tank" is where human waste is stored when there is no connection from a house to a sewage system. Apparently the friends feared anything that could disturb the peace or, to put it another way, the tranquillity of the gathering.

Example Question #21 : Text Completion

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

Leonard found the mild flavors of inland cuisine to be __________________; he much preferred the _______________ dishes of the coastal regions. In fact, he indulged so frequently in the spicy seaside fare that he felt he was somewhat of an __________________, and he prided himself on being able to discern each individual flavor, from habanero to cardamom. 

Possible Answers:

boring . . . tangy . . . ascetic 

dissonant . . . unexpected . . . altruist

insipid . . . piquant . . . epicure

uncouth . . . flavorful . . . eccentric

exciting . . . bland . . . enthusiast 

Correct answer:

insipid . . . piquant . . . epicure

Explanation:

The first two blanks are opposites of one another. Contextual clues are "mild flavors of inland cuisine" and "he much preferred... of the coastal regions." The clues for the last blank are "indulged so frequently" and "discern each individual flavor." Of the answer choices, only "insipid, piquant, and epicure" fit the meaning of the sentence. 

Example Question #1 : Nouns, 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.

George decided to __________ eating red meat to reduce his high cholesterol, as he had been told by his doctor that his current diet was __________ to his overall health; it was a difficult lifestyle change, as he had a __________ for hamburgers.

Possible Answers:

impugn . . . disparate . . . abeyance

cease . . . pernicious . . . platitude

bolster . . . pragmatic . . . anachronism

abstain from . . . deleterious . . . predilection

forbear from . . . volatile . . . paradox

Correct answer:

abstain from . . . deleterious . . . predilection

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need a verb that means something like stop. "Abstain from," "forbear from," and "cease" could all work, as they mean just that. For the second blank, we're looking for an adjective that means something like "causing harm"; either "deleterious" (causing harm or damage) or "pernicious" (having a gradual harmful effect) could work. For the last blank, we need a noun that means something like "fondness"; in choosing between "predilection" (a preference for something) and"platitude" (a moral saying used too often to be interesting or thoughtful), "predilection" is the better choice, so the answer is "abstain from . . . deleterious . . . predilection."

Example Question #21 : Text Completion

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

The scientist's theories initially seemed __________ at best, as there existed little evidence to support them; however, later advances in her field __________ her claims and she received many __________ for her work. 

Possible Answers:

esoteric . . . disparaged . . . harangues

ambiguous . . . vindicated . . . elegies

empirical . . . bolstered . . . panegyrics

spurious . . . enervated . . . encomiums

tenuous . . . corroborated . . . accolades

Correct answer:

tenuous . . . corroborated . . . accolades

Explanation:

We know that initially, not a lot of evidence supported the scientist's theories. We know the word for the first blank is a adjective with a negative connotation because of the phrase "at best" that follows it; from these context clues, we can select "ambiguous," "esoteric," and "tenuous" as possible choices. For the second blank, we need a word similar to "confirmed," so "corroborated" and "vindicated" are both suitable choices. For the final blank, we need to choose between "accolades" (awards granted as acknowledgments of merit) and "elegies" (laments for the dead), and "accolades" is the best choice. So, the correct answer is "tenuous . . . corroborated . . . accolades."

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

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

Lawrence was relatively talentless, so he learned how to __________ his bosses. This ability __________ him the title “doppelgänger” from his coworkers, who were simultaneously amused and __________ at his shifting personality features.

Possible Answers:

delude . . . awarded . . . gaped

please . . . adorned . . . amazed

abate . . . rewarded . . . inebriated

enjoin . . . treasured . . . baffled

emulate . . . earned . . . vexed

Correct answer:

emulate . . . earned . . . vexed

Explanation:

The best clue for this sentence is "doppelgänger," though this is a rather difficult word. It means a "double" of someone—coming from the German word that means "one who goes doubly" (rather strange, but understandable). Even if you do not know this meaning, you can also see that he has "shifting personality features." Only one option provides this for the first blank, namely to "emulate." This means to reproduce. The word "earned" makes sense on the whole, as his actions led to his coworkers giving him this title. Apparently, they simultaneously have two different attitudes. This is at least hinted by the word "simultaneously," so "vexed" (meaning annoyed) is a good contrast to "amused."

Example Question #41 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

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

A gardener must learn to __________ hedges and trees well, for such __________ will become quite ___________ without such paring.

Possible Answers:

assay . . . tasks . . . indolent

belittle . . . property . . . testy

cut . . . largess . . . horrendous

prune . . . vegetation . . . overgrown

plow . . . existents . . . vexing

Correct answer:

prune . . . vegetation . . . overgrown

Explanation:

The word "paring" provides our first and clearest clue. It means to trim the outside of something. This means that the gardener is doing such cutting. "Cut," however, is only partially synonymous. "Pruning" is the process of paring a plant. The second blank refers back to the hedges and trees, which can be called by the general term "vegetation." Finally, the third blank describes what will happen if such vegetation is not cut properly: it will become "overgrown."

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

The toddler had a strong __________ to broccoli and thus could not be __________ by hiding the __________ vegetable in the much more agreeable mashed potatoes.

Possible Answers:

Polemic . . . Deceived . . . Unadulterated

Attraction . . . Hallowed . . . Venerable

Juxtaposition . . . Hollowed . . . Desirable

Affliction . . . Pondered . . . Appealing

Aversion . . . Duped . . . Revolting

Correct answer:

Aversion . . . Duped . . . Revolting

Explanation:

There are few relevant clues in the sentence to help you solve this problem, apart from the use of the phrase "more agreeable" towards the end. This clue suggests that broccoli must therefore be "less agreeable." Other than that, you have to solve by seeing which of the five answer choices fit best into the blanks together. "Aversion" means dislike for, repelled by;"duped" means tricked; and "revolting" means disgusting. If the toddler strongly dislikes broccoli, he is unlikely to be tricked by the disgusting vegetable being hidden in his mashed potatoes. To provide additional help, "affliction" means disease or problem; "pondered" means thought about; "appealing" means desirable, attractive; a "polemic" is a strong and passionate verbal attack; "deceived" means tricked; "unadulterated" means not altered, not changed; a "juxtaposition" is the comparison of two things; "hollowed" means made a hole through; "hallowed" means holy or sacred; "venerable" means old and respected

Example Question #32 : Three Blank Texts

We were all drawn in by the twin babies' __________, wanting to __________ as many hugs as possible from the little __________ duo.

Possible Answers:

Probity . . . Inveigh . . . Malleable

Vivacity . . . Garner . . . Dynamic

Hedonism . . . Contrive . . . Spurious

Eloquence . . . Articulate . . . Devious

Charisma . . . Oblige . . . Abstemious

Correct answer:

Vivacity . . . Garner . . . Dynamic

Explanation:

Because the subjects of this sentence seem to want to hug the two little babies as much as possible it seems likely that the blanks will relate to this urge. “Vivacity” means attractive, lively and fun; “garner” means collect, gather; “dynamic” means energetic, exciting, enjoyable. To provide further help, “eloquence” is the ability to speak clearly and well; “articulate” means eloquent, able to express ideas clearly; “devious” means sneaky; “charisma” means charming and engaging in a way that inspires affection from others; “oblige” means force, make to do; “abstemious” means not indulging in things that you want to do that are dangerous or harmful; “probity” means honesty, being strongly moral; “inveigh” means denounce; “malleable” means bendable, flexible; “hedonism” is the pursuit of pleasure above everything else; “contrive” means cause a situation to arise using deceptive or false methods; “spurious” means fake.

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

My neighbor's well-behaved, __________ son displayed his patience and __________ while he sat still amidst the chaos, refusing to wander and __________ about.

Possible Answers:

Irritable . . . Cunning . . . Garrison

Fleeting . . . Apathy . . . Emigrate

Stoic . . . Compliance . . . Ramble

Erudite . . . Gravitas . . . Curtail

Wizened . . . Ignominy . . . Appropriate

Correct answer:

Stoic . . . Compliance . . . Ramble

Explanation:

You are told that the neighbor's son is "well-behaved" and shows "patience." From this information it is reasonable to conclude that the son could be described as "stoic" meaning calm, not emotional, impassive. Further, if the son is demonstrating his patience it makes sense that he is also demonstrating "compliance" or obedience, by not running around and disrupting his parent. Finally, the last blank is clearly related to running around heedlessly, so the correct answer is "ramble." To provide additional help, "irritable" means easily annoyed; "garrison" refers to troops stationed in a fort to protect it; "erudite" means well-educated, scholarly; "gravitas" means dignity; "curtail" means reduce in impact; "fleeting" means not lasting very long; "emigrate" means move to a new country; "apathy" means not caring; "wizened" means ancient, very old; "ignominy" means shame, disgrace; "appropriate" (when used as a verb) means take something not belonging to you and refit it to fit your need

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

I feel such a strong sense of __________ at the __________ fees charged by my local bank that I am thinking of __________ banking institutions altogether.

Possible Answers:

Zealotry . . . Miniscule . . . Remedying

Indulgence . . . Halcyon . . . Jettisoning

Mendacity . . . Cumbersome . . . Espousing

Credulity . . . Wanton . . . Delineating

Indignation . . . Exorbitant . . . Eschewing

Correct answer:

Indignation . . . Exorbitant . . . Eschewing

Explanation:

From context it is clear that the author of this sentence has strong feelings about banks; it is not clear what the nature of those feelings are, so you have to try to see which three words fit together logically. The correct answer is, therefore, "indignation" (anger at a perceived injustice, umbrage); "exorbiant" (excessively costly); "eschewing" (abstaining from). To provide additional help, “mendacity” means untruthfulness, dishonesty; “cumbersome” means heavy, a burden; “espousing” means declaring; “credulity” means a tendency to believe everything; “wanton” means random; “delineating” means making a list of; “indulgence” means allowing oneself to gratify a desire; “halcyon” means happy, idyllic, a period of time in the past that was carefree; “jettisoning” means getting rid of; “zealotry” is passion, uncompromising and intense belief in some dogma; “miniscule” means tiny; “remedying” means fixing.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors