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 #31 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

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

After experiencing a(n) __________, the new believer can often act as a(n) __________, seeking out new converts with great __________.

Possible Answers:

revival . . . promoter . . . fastidiousness

conversion . . . proselytizer . . . zeal

sermon . . . preacher . . . concern

revelation . . . intermediary . . . alacrity

deconstruction . . . aggressor . . . abhorrence

Correct answer:

conversion . . . proselytizer . . . zeal

Explanation:

The best clues in this sentence are "new believer" and "seeking out new converts." The latter helps us to find the second blank. A "proselyte" is a new convert to a religion, and a "proselytizer" is someone who looks for such new converts. Likewise, since the believer is new, we can guess that he or she has experienced a conversion—meaning that he or she has "turned" from a former way of life to a new way of life in the given religion or group. (The "-vers-" portion of the word comes from the Latin for "to turn." It is found in words like "reverse" and "adverse.") Finally, such a person will do such conversion work with great ambition and energy. To be "zealous" is to act in such a manner. The word is related to the word "jealous"—and jealousy does indeed often lead to great zeal!

Example Question #21 : Three Blank Texts

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

Herman's __________ personality was quite amazing in contrast to his sister, who was quite __________.  Every social event was __________ with the sound of her voice, which seemed to fill the room with its prolix stream.

Possible Answers:

verbose . . . taciturn . . . redolent

laconic . . . loquacious . . . inundated

metaphorical . . . direct . . . punctuated

contumacious . . . talkative . . . overwhelmed

morose . . . joyous . . . ebullient

Correct answer:

laconic . . . loquacious . . . inundated

Explanation:

The best initial clue for this sentence is the description "prolix stream." The word "prolix" means, in short, wordy. It comes from roots that are related to "liquid"—as though the words are flowing. Therefore, all we know is that Herman's sister is very talkative. "Loquacious" means this. The word is related to "colloquy," "elocution," and "eloquent"—all words pertaining to speech. The option containing "talkative" does not work because "contumacious" means inflexibly disobedient. This is not a good contrast to "loquacious"; however, "laconic" is, for it means terse or pithy, or in other words, not using many words. Finally, to "inundate" something is to overwhelm it. The word comes from roots that mean "flood" or "wave." (An "undulating" motion is one that is in a wave-like pattern.) The room was filled and overwhelmed by Herman's sister's voice because she was so talkative!

Example Question #32 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

Due to his previous problems with alcoholism, Steve voluntarily joined a(n) __________ program to help with his __________ addiction, but he was unable to resist temptation and eventually succumbed to a(n) __________ lifestyle.

Possible Answers:

Hostile . . . Remorseful . . . Objective 

Superficial . . . Deleterious . . . Abstemious

Obsolete . . . Underwhelming . . . Homogenous

Abstinence . . . Unremitting . . . Bacchanal

Clandestine . . . Garrulous . . . Subjective 

Correct answer:

Abstinence . . . Unremitting . . . Bacchanal

Explanation:

You are told in the sentence that Steve has had problems with alcoholism, it would therefore make sense for him to join an "abstinence" program. "Abstinence" means the act of restraining from participating in something addictive or harmful, particularly drugs or alcohol. An adjective that might reasonably be used to describe an addiction is "unremitting." This word means incessant, ceaseless and constant. Finally, you are told that Steve fails to stick to his program of abstinence and succumbs to a certain lifestyle. Because it is likely to be a lifestyle associated with drunken behavior the correct answer choice is "bacchanal." To provide additional help, "superficial" means not important, not real; "deleterious" means harmful; "abstemious" means abstaining from something, not participating in something enjoyable; "hostile" means aggressive; "remorseful" means feeling bad or sorry for some past wrong; "objective" means based on fact, not biased; "subjective" means based on opinion, biased; "obsolete" means outdated, no longer useful; "homogenous" means the same as, similar; "clandestine" means secretive; "garrulous" means talkative

Example Question #32 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

The woman's __________ demeanor was further highlighted by the utter __________ of her husband, creating a(n) __________ for the "opposites attract" theory.

Possible Answers:

Eccentric . . . Banality . . . Archetype

Envious . . . Modesty . . . Invective

Gregarious . . . Cowardice . . . Anachronism

Haughty . . . Humility . . . Mockery

Languid . . . Lethargy . . . Prototype

Correct answer:

Eccentric . . . Banality . . . Archetype

Explanation:

From the clues given in the sentence it is hard to tell whether the evidence provided by the comparison of the wife and the husband will prove or disprove the “opposites attract” theory, but you know that the husband and wife are being compared in some way to prove some further point; therefore, to solve this problem you have to see which answer choices fit with this format. If the wife were “eccentric” (interesting, unconventional and extraordinary) and the husband was defined by his “banality” (lack of originality, boringness) it would make sense for the two of them to act as an “archetype” (a typical example of something) for the theory that opposites attract. To provide additional help, “haughty” means arrogant, bold; “humility” means possessing modesty and being humble; “mockery” means make fun of; “gregarious” means outgoing, sociable; “cowardice” means fear, not being brave; “anachronism” means something that does not fit in the time period; “languid” and “lethargy” both refer to having no energy or motivation; “prototype” means an original example of something; “envious” means jealous; “modesty” means humility, or the quality of being unassuming; “invective” means abuse.

Example Question #22 : Three Blank Texts

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

Scientists often sound like they can only speak __________, for their __________, specialized expressions are all but unintelligible to the __________.

Possible Answers:

jargon . . . cryptic . . . laity

academically . . . scholarly . . . public

legalistically . . . judgmental . . . students

rapidly . . . scandalous . . . neophytes

verbosely . . . distinguished . . . masses

Correct answer:

jargon . . . cryptic . . . laity

Explanation:

The best beginning clue for this question is the fact that the scientists are described as being "all but unintelligible." This means that they are basically completely unintelligible to those who do not understand their language. "Jargon" is a system of terms that are used in a profession but are very difficult to understand for those who are outside of the profession. The term "laity" is often used in religion to describe those who are not part of the clergy; however, it can also mean non-professional people as well. Therefore, this is a good contrast to the jargon-laden scientists described in the sentence. Finally, such language is difficult to understand. Something that is "cryptic" is obscure in this manner.

Note that while "academically . . . scholarly . . . public" could also be correct, the best answer is the one whose words more specifically reference their unintelligibility. While "acadmic" and "scholarly" work is often obscure and hard to understand this is not an inherent part of their definitions as words.

Example Question #41 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

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:

enervating . . . filibustering . . . details

bombastic . . . plumbing . . . depths

hilarious . . . annoying . . . host

belittling . . . denigrating . . . loftiness

aseptic . . . disturbing . . . tranquility

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 #21 : Text Completion

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:

enjoin . . . treasured . . . baffled

delude . . . awarded . . . gaped

abate . . . rewarded . . . inebriated

please . . . adorned . . . amazed

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."

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