GRE Verbal : Parts of Speech in Three-Blank Texts

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Three Blank Texts

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

Some people's views are quite __________; such individuals question the __________ mores of their community and looking to __________ them through revolution.

Possible Answers:

malevolent . . . prescriptive . . . revise

libertarian . . . malignant . . . mar

iconoclastic . . . accepted . . . overthrow

progressive . . . pedantic . . . reform

benevolent . . . dated . . . transform

Correct answer:

iconoclastic . . . accepted . . . overthrow

Explanation:

Several points help to make this sentence clear. The "mores" of a society are its general customs. This word is related to "morals," though "morals" has a greater ethical content in its notion than does "mores." Secondly, the fact that such people are looking to do something "through revolution" implies that they are not undertaking their actions through peaceful means. This helps us to eliminate the options for the third blank that are too "calm" and reform-minded (as opposed to openly revolutionary). Hence, "overthrow" is excellent. Such people are likely questioning the accepted mores of the community. In a way, "accepted mores" is a bit redundant, but the expression does help to stress the fact that these revolutionaries are acting against the established order of things. Such people who wish to "tear down" the accepted order are called "iconoclastic." An "icon" is a likeness or image. The word "icono-clast" literally means the breaker of an icon. (This comes, in part, from a position in the Christian community that wished to destroy all images.) In general, "iconoclastic" signifies the outlook that would destroy or uproot established institutions.

Example Question #11 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Three Blank Texts

The ancient professor __________ on and on during his lecture, only pausing __________ for a __________ glance at the class, silently discouraging class engagement.

Possible Answers:

Prattled . . . Consistently . . . Nervous 

Droned . . . Intermittently . . . Perfunctory 

Rambled . . . Aggressively . . . Mournful 

Lampooned . . . Restlessly . . . Amiable 

Ensconced . . . Haughtily . . . Impolitic 

Correct answer:

Droned . . . Intermittently . . . Perfunctory 

Explanation:

You are told that the professor is very old and that whatever action he is doing he goes "on and on." Because he is giving a lecture it makes sense that he is speaking, and from context you can infer it is a word that means speaking in a long-winded and boring fashion. The correct answer is therefore "droned," although "rambled" and "prattled" could also be acceptable answers as these words have similar meanings. Additionally, you are told that the professor "only paused" meaning the adjective used to describe his pauses is most likely something like occasionally. The correct answer is therefore "intermittently." Finally, the professor gives a glance to his students. The word "glance" suggests a quick look so the correct answer is "perfunctory" which means quick, brief, and cursory. To provide additional help, "ensconced" means hidden, settled; "haughtily" means done with arrogance; "impolitic" means not polite; "mournful" means full of sadness; "lampooned" means mocked; "amiable" means friendly and sociable

Example Question #11 : Text Completion

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

The mischievous boy tried to __________ his smug, __________ grin, but seeing the hilarious results of his prank only served to __________ his smile.

Possible Answers:

Enhance . . . Serene . . . Demonize

Amplify . . . Cantankerous . . . Diminish 

Stifle . . . Complacent . . . Augment 

Antagonize . . . Whimsical . . . Harmonize

Remedy . . . Contentious . . . Admonish 

Correct answer:

Stifle . . . Complacent . . . Augment 

Explanation:

You are told that the boy is "mischievous" and pulled a prank. The conjunction "but" is also a relevant clue to the context of the sentence. From this information you can infer that the boy would want to hide or conceal his grin so as not to give away the prank. The correct answer is therefore "stifle." The word "but" suggests that the boy's attempts to "stifle" his grin were not successful, so the correct answer must be that his smile was enhanced or "augmented" by seeing his prank unfold. To provide additional help, "complacent" means lazy, careless; "amplify" means enhance; "diminish" means take away from, reduce in importance; "cantankerous" means grumpy; "serene" means peaceful; "demonize" means portray as evil; "remedy" means fix; "harmonize" means coordinate, make something fit with something else; "whimsical" means silly or quirky; "antagonize" means annoy, make angry; "contentious" means debatable; "admonish" means chastise, tell off

Example Question #1 : Nouns 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 young man was very insecure and therefore accomplished all of his tasks with great __________.  He did not want to seem __________ to any of the managers, for he feared losing his job because of an apparent __________ of spirit.

Possible Answers:

alacrity . . . immature . . . lucidity

demeanor . . . recalcitrant . . . rancid

celerity . . . languid . . . deficit

sagacity . . . uninformed . . . dullness

profundity . . . shallow . . . notoriety

Correct answer:

celerity . . . languid . . . deficit

Explanation:

The most tempting wrong answer is the one that has "alacrity" as its first element. The second sentence, upon filling in the blanks without looking at the answers, clearly indicates that the young man did not wish to seem to have a lack of energy; however, the remaining content for "alacrity . . ." doesn't make sense in this context.

The key word that might cause problems in the correct answer set is "celerity." The word comes from the Latin base "celeriter," meaning quickly, rapidly, and so forth. Related words in English are "accelerate" and "decelerate." The second and third words in this set match the sense of opposition evoked between the sentences, even if "deficit" does not seems like a word that would normally be chosen.

Example Question #1 : Nouns 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 presidential candidate slammed his hand on the lectern many times during the course of his speech. Between his wild                 and                 style, it would have been better to call this event a                   than a political address.

Possible Answers:

mannerisms . . . limpid . . . discourse

gesticulations . . . bombastic . . . tirade

heckling . . . overwrought . . . comedy

demeanor . . . addled . . . rant

glances . . . desultory . . . confusion

Correct answer:

gesticulations . . . bombastic . . . tirade

Explanation:

The two most tempting answers are "gesticulations . . . bombastic . . . tirade" and "demeanor . . . addled . . . rant." Two points help to make the final determination. First, the sentence clearly notes the candidate's hand motions. This at least works in favor of the set containing "gesticulations" (hand movements). Furthermore, "addled" means confused, but "rant" indicates an angry speech; therefore, the match between the second and third term is tenuous at best. "Bombastic" and "tirade" particularly work well, giving us the correct answer.

Example Question #12 : Text Completion

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

Everyone was surprised when the corporal, normally a __________ woman, not only spoke up in the meeting, but had the __________ to tell the five-star general to his face that his last order had been __________, issued in the heat of the moment without first considering later repercussions.

Possible Answers:

obsequious . . . volatility . . . banal

garrulous . . . sagacity . . . meticulous

taciturn . . . audacity . . . impetuous

reticent . . . dogmatism . . . sanctioned

laconic . . . presumption . . . pragmatic

Correct answer:

taciturn . . . audacity . . . impetuous

Explanation:

We know that "everyone was surprised" that the corporal "spoke up in the meeting," so for the first blank, we need an adjective that describes her normally quiet personality. Possible options include "taciturn," "laconic," and "reticent." For the second blank, we need a noun that describes the corporal critiquing the general. Of our remaining choices—"audacity," "presumption," and "dogmatism"—the first two choices fit the bill. For the last blank, we know that the general's order was given without much forethought, and need an adjective that describes this. Between "impetuous" (acting or done thoughtlessly or carelessly) and "pragmatic," (dealing with things practically and seriously) "impetuous" is the clear choice, making the answer to the question "taciturn . . . audacious . . . impetuous."

Example Question #13 : Parts Of Speech In Three Blank Texts

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

Frances believed that the meeting was __________; a __________ of factors enabled her and her new partner to finish the project with great __________, unexpectedly finishing three weeks ahead of schedule.

Possible Answers:

tedious . . . predestination . . . concomitance

fawning . . . congeries . . . amazement

planned . . . dissipation . . . sagacity

florid . . . vector . . . turgidity

providential . . . constellation . . . celerity

Correct answer:

providential . . . constellation . . . celerity

Explanation:

The easiest blank for this question is the final one. Since Frances finished ahead of schedule, she was able to work with speed. "Celerity" means speed in moving and functions well in this sentence as well. It is related to "accelerate," which means to increase speed. This seems to have been an unexpected meeting with positive outcomes. Such fortuitous events are often called "providential" from the older theological notion of divine foreknowledge and ordering of the world. This meeting led to a gathering of helpful factors. Such a gathering is called a "constellation"—just like the stars that are gathered together. (Indeed, "constellation" leterally means stars that are together. See the root "-stella-" found in "stellar".)

Example Question #2 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Three Blank Texts

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

Harvey believed that it was a __________ maxim that one should listen to one’s __________, for all such people were not merely geriatric products of a former age but were indeed the __________ heirs of much experience.

Possible Answers:

dubious . . . seniors . . . belligerent

proverbial . . . superiors . . . famous

universal . . . elders . . . sagacious

placating . . . agents . . . appreciable

pedantic . . . subordinates . . . forgers

Correct answer:

universal . . . elders . . . sagacious

Explanation:

The best two clues in this sentence are "all" and "geriatric." The latter adjective describes people who are elderly. (Think of a "geriatric nurse" who cares for the elderly.) Thus, the people in question are "elders." This is slightly better than "seniors." Also, "seniors" is paired with words that do not work for this sentence. Since "all" such people are experienced, it is understandable that Harvey believed that they were universally (or everywhere and by everyone) believed to be worthy of being heard. Finally, be the recipients of experience would make one wise. To be "sagacious" is to have such wisdom. (Think of the related word "sage," meaning a wise person.)

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

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

The new scientific __________ presented a complete __________, accounting even for the most __________ details in addition to many macroscopic phenomena, though the final certainty of the system remained to be determined.

Possible Answers:

invention . . . solution . . . intricate

inquest . . . schematization . . . staggering

theory . . . ontology . . . minute

discovery . . . scope . . . distant

undertaking . . . outline . . . jejune

Correct answer:

theory . . . ontology . . . minute

Explanation:

The easiest blank in this question is the final one. There is a contrast between "macroscopic" and the third blank. Phenomena that are "macroscopic" are large enough to be seen with the unaided eye—with no instruments. In contrast to this, something "minute" is small—like miniature or the prefix "mini-." (Note, the word is pronounced "my-noot." This might help you to memorize it and not confuse it with the measurement of time, "minute.") 

The first blank is relatively easy to fill in as well. Since the "final certainty of the system remained to be determined," this meant that the scientific discovery was not complete. A "theory" is a conjectural explanation, not necessarily complete. This is the best first choice. Finally, since this theory attempts to provide all of the details of the world—from top to bottom (or, better, from little to big)—it provides a complete "ontology"—that is, a complete theory of "being."

Example Question #31 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

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

Even though many small towns are at most fifty miles from __________ centers of city life, they can be quite __________, often lacking even general __________ for the cultural offerings found in such lively cities.

Possible Answers:

vibrant . . . insular . . . appreciation

redundant . . . fatuous . . . awareness

redoubtable . . . remarkable . . . mediation

aesthetic . . . acculturated . . . plasticity

heinous . . . hackneyed . . . regard

Correct answer:

vibrant . . . insular . . . appreciation

Explanation:

The first blank is perhaps the most easily completed. It uses the adjective "lively" as its main clue. The only really tempting wrong answer would be "aesthetic," meaning dealing with or pertaining to the arts; however, that is a bit too specific for the general remark about "cultural offerings." Therefore, since we know that the cities are "lively," we can also say that they are "vibrant." The small towns seem to lack appreciation for these sorts of matters—hence, the third blank's answer. To have such a lack of appreciation implies a lack of culture. For this, the word "insular" works well, for it means isolated and disinterested in new cultural knowledge. It comes from the Latin for "island." Insular people are like people on an island away from the rest of the world.

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