GRE Verbal : Context Clues in One-Blank Texts

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Context Clues In One Blank Texts

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

Although he seemed quite inflexible, Thomas was quite __________ and able to deal with any situation that came his way.

Possible Answers:

contentious

nugatory

malleable

laconic

judgmental

Correct answer:

malleable

Explanation:

In contrast to being "inflexible," being "malleable" describes a temperament that literally is able to "bend" to the changing circumstances of life and living. The word is often used of substances—certain kinds of metal are more malleable than others. This contrast is indicated because of the introductory word "although." Although Thomas seemed to be one way—inflexible—he was in fact another—malleable.

Example Question #12 : Context Clues In One Blank Texts

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

Ronald's friends were surprised at his recent __________ behavior, for they knew him to be a man of scrupulous conscience.

Possible Answers:

mendacious

uncouth

irregular

belittled

iniquitous

Correct answer:

iniquitous

Explanation:

Of the wrong answers, the one that is perhaps somewhat appropriate—though not completely correct—is "mendacious," meaning pertaining to lying. A "mendacious person" is a liar. (Perhaps "uncouth"—lacking good manners—is a temptation as well.) The general point, however, is a contrast. Ronald's friends are surprised because he is not acting morally upright—what a person with a scrupulous conscience would do. Therefore, he is acting in an immoral way. To be iniquitous is to be just that. "Iniquity" is another name for very immoral or unfair behavior.

Example Question #12 : One Blank Texts

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

Although the boy was known for walking briskly everywhere he went, today he traveled at a pace that was quite __________

Possible Answers:

plodding

unpredictable

expeditious

surprising

irregular

Correct answer:

plodding

Explanation:

The word "although" at the beginning of the sentence is a trigger word telling you that the introductory clause is opposed to the main clause of the sentence. "Brisk" can describe cool weather but it also can mean fast. The contrast in this sentence is between the boy's normal quick pace and the blank that we have to fill. "Expeditious" is too synonymous with work. "Irregular" and "unpredictable" are not direct antonyms. "Surprising" is wholly off the mark. The best answer is "plodding"—meaning slowly moving.

Example Question #13 : Context Clues In One Blank Texts

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

Many choose to become college professors, even though the road to tenure can be ___________.

Possible Answers:

caustic

tortuous

dogmatic

overt

rewarding

Correct answer:

tortuous

Explanation:

“Tortuous” means unnecessarily twisted or difficult. It is the only choice that is both negative and can describe a metaphorical road.

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

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

The musician’s attempts to brighten the mood continually failed, as all his songs sounded like __________

 

Possible Answers:

laments

revivals

waltzes

celebrations

dirges

Correct answer:

dirges

Explanation:

Because the musician failed to “brighten the mood,” the word which will complete the sentence needs to indicate a slow, even sad tone. "Celebration" and "revival" are instantly struck out for their positive connotations, while "waltz" is a mood-neutral musical term. "Laments" may look like a potentially correct answer choice, but the term typically reserved for describing speech and writing, not music, making "dirges" the best answer choice.

Example Question #14 : Context Clues In One Blank Texts

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

The conversation, which began as a minor disagreement between two friends, had escalated into a __________ display of enmity.

Possible Answers:

contentious

immoral

disgraceful

villainous

judgmental

Correct answer:

contentious

Explanation:

This sentence is very obvious in calling for an intensified word to complete the first half of the sentence. In the first portion, the conversation is said to be a minor disagreement. To "escalate" means to increase in intensity—like an escalator going upwards in a building. When a conversation is "contentious," it is a heated disagreement. This well describes the escalation from a disagreement to something much worse.

Example Question #15 : Context Clues In One Blank Texts

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

While Patricia wanted to __________ the paper, John thought she should only ameliorate its most egregious faults.

Possible Answers:

ignore

spurn

perfect

improve

revisit

Correct answer:

perfect

Explanation:

The word "ameliorate" means to make better. The word "only" implies that John thinks that Patricia is overly concerned with the paper. He does not think she needs to go as far as she wants to in improving it. Therefore, it is best to choose the simple word "perfect." She wants it to be perfected, but John is telling her (effectively), "Just make it a bit better."

Example Question #16 : One Blank Texts

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

After realizing that mild critiques were not enough to change Neville's outlook, Miranda decided to level a __________ critique of his position.

Possible Answers:

sagacious

fierce

intellectual

pleonastic

vilifying

Correct answer:

fierce

Explanation:

This sentence hints that Miranda felt the need to present a much harsher critique of Neville's position. To "level" a critique is merely to state it, often frankly and honestly. All that we can say is that the critique will be severe, in contrast to its nicer, milder form earlier. The word "fierce" best expresses this increased severity.

Example Question #16 : One Blank Texts

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

With time, the distressing remark had become a mere __________ in Joel's mind.

Possible Answers:

misery

reflection

spirit

delight

phantom

Correct answer:

phantom

Explanation:

The idea here is well summarized in the old adage, "Time heals all wounds." The passage of time has helped make Joel's wounds reduce to nearly nothing at all. They may not be delights, but they are as wispy as a ghost—that is, as wispy as a phantom. The language is a bit metaphorical, but we do sometimes speak of vestiges / leftover realities as being "phantoms." This is the best option. Do not at all be tempted by "spirits," a word that is trying to confuse you in regard to "phantoms."

Example Question #17 : One Blank Texts

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

The end of apartheid in South Africa brought an end to the institutionalization of racism in the country; however, the rise of xenophobia provided a new subject of __________ for the populace.

Possible Answers:

dislike

chicanery

enmity

anathema

altruism

Correct answer:

enmity

Explanation:

Through the context, you can tell that the blank will need to be filled with a negative word, as the pairing of "end of racism" and "however," as well as the mention of the "rise of xenophobia" leading to the blank implies that the word in the blank must mean some sort of hatred. This means that "altruism" (concern for the condition of other people above one's own) is out, as is "chicanery" (trickery), as both have nothing to do with phobias, racism, or the like. 

That leaves "anathema," "dislike," and "enmity." While "anathema" is associated with strong hatred, it actually describes the object, and not the attitudes of the people towards that object directly, so that can be thrown out through context. And while "dislike" works in the sentence, it doesn't have a very strong negative connotation, so pairing it with racism doesn't seem quite right.  That leaves the correct answer, "enmity," as the only answer with the correct meaning AND connotation.

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