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 #2033 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

The writer existed on the __________ of popular fame throughout his lifetime and suffered from a terrible __________ over his inability to write a bestseller; it was only __________, when the writer himself could not appreciate it, that his work became widely loved.  

Possible Answers:

Exigency . . . Erudition . . . Humorously

Fringe . . . Reticence . . . Contemporarily

Margins . . . Elation . . . Abashedly

Dogma . . . Caprice . . . Deferentially

Periphery . . . Despondency . . . Posthumously

Correct answer:

Periphery . . . Despondency . . . Posthumously

Explanation:

Because the writer was unable to write a bestseller, you can assume he existed on the margins of the fame throughout his life. And, because you are told that he only became famous when he could not appreciate it himself it is likely that he became famous after he died. This information tells you that the correct answers must be “periphery” margins, fringes; “despondency” sadness, hopelessness; “posthumously” after death. To provide additional help, “elation” means great happiness; “abashedly” means shamefully; “reticence” means reserved, not capable of speaking freely; “contemporarily” means occurring in recent times; “exigency” means need, necessity, requirement; “erudition” means education; “humorously” means funnily, done with humor; “dogma” means accepted teaching, maxim; “caprice” means a sudden change in mood; “deferentially” means done with deference, putting someone else's understanding above one's own.

Example Question #41 : Parts Of Speech In Three Blank Texts

Choose the set of words that best completes the following sentences.

It is important for a politician to remain __________ in his or her beliefs, but it is also important not to appear overly __________. While people admire steadfastness, __________ is never seen as a virtue; voters want the person they elect to know when to compromise and when to stand their ground.

Possible Answers:

candid . . . forthright . . . transparency 

craven . . . foolhardy . . . fervor 

staunch . . . obdurate . . . intransigence 

ecumenical . . . plastic . . . whimsy

obtuse . . . concilatory . . . vacillation 

Correct answer:

staunch . . . obdurate . . . intransigence 

Explanation:

Based on the context of the sentence, we can tell that the third blank is probably related to the characteristic warned against in the second blank; we can also infer that the first blank is probably a less extreme version of the second blank.

For the first blank, "staunch," meaning loyal, and "candid," meaning forthright, both could work as descriptions of an attitude toward a politician's beliefs. "Obtuse," meaning insensitive, "craven," meaning cowardly, and "ecumenical," meaning relating to Christian churches as a group, do not work at all. For the second blank, both being excessively "forthright," meaning straightforward, and "obdurate," meaning unyielding, both could work as characteristics to be cautioned against. We are still left with "staunch . . . obdurate . . . intransigence" and "candid . . . forthright . . . transparency" as options. "Intransigence," meaning stubborn refusal to compromise, works nicely as the opposite of "[knowing] when to compromise and when to stand their ground."

Example Question #41 : Parts Of Speech In Three Blank Texts

Choose the set of words that best completes the following sentences.

The impressive game-winning goal __________ the freshman soccer player’s extreme athletic ability, but he seemed uncomfortable with the way the coach publicly __________ him after the game, as he was __________ by nature.

Possible Answers:

undermined . . . berated . . . pompous

evinced . . . exalted . . . unostentatious 

cauterized . . . appeased . . . lethargic

invalidated . . . disregarded . . . self-effacing

accentuated . . . coveted . . . circumspect

Correct answer:

evinced . . . exalted . . . unostentatious 

Explanation:

Based on the fact that we know the player scored the game-winning goal, and that this stands in some relation (blank one) to the soccer player's extreme athletic ability, we can infer that the first blank will describe some action having some positive connotation. We can also tell that the final two blanks stand in some opposing relationship to each other (he seemed uncomfortable with "something" because he was "some other thing"). "Evinced," meaning indicated, and "accentuated," meaning emphasized, both could work in blank one, as both would make sense as something that would come about as a result of a freshman player scoring a game-winning goal. "Undermined," meaning subverted, completely contradicts the tone of the sentence. "Cauterized," meaning burnt, especially burnt a wound to help it begin to heal, and "invalidated," meaning contradicted, also do not work given the context. As such, we know our only two options are "evinced . . . exalted . . . unostentatious" and "accentuated . . . coveted . . . circumspect."

Regarding the second blank, "exalted" means praised, which would make sense as an action the coach would take after a player scored an important goal. "Coveted," meaning yearned for, perhaps doesn't fit perfectly, but also could potentially fit. Moving to the final blank, "unostentatious," meaning humble, would make sense given the context; however "circumspect," meaning risk-averse, does not fit in the passage well at all. As such, we know our answer is "evinced . . . exalted . . . unostentatious."

Example Question #2034 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

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

James thought that winning the lottery was a(n) __________ turn of events, but between struggling with tax laws and __________ relatives, it turned out to be a(n) __________.

Possible Answers:

advantageous . . . supplicant . . . adventure

unlucky . . . rapacious . . . advantage

lucky . . . begetting . . .windfall

interesting . . . needling . . . incident

auspicious . . . mendicant . . . albatross

Correct answer:

auspicious . . . mendicant . . . albatross

Explanation:

"Auspicious" is an adjective that means fortunate or prosperous, "mendicant" as an adjective means prone to begging, and an "albatross," outside of being a seabird, is a longstanding, personally burdensome item.

The first blank is followed by a contrast word ("but") and a negative consequence ("struggling with tax laws"), so we know that "auspicious" is a possibility. The second blank is paired with a method by which money can be whittled away, so "begging" or money seeking relatives makes sense as a choice here.

Example Question #2033 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

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

Nana lives a very __________ lifestyle; she does not drink soda or eat unhealthy __________, preferring instead a diet of __________.

Possible Answers:

hedonistic . . . sustenance . . . temperance

abstinent . . . astringents . . . appetence

abstemious . . . comestibles . . . salubrity 

healthy . . . provisions . . . difficulty

acerbic . . . cuisine . . . moderation

Correct answer:

abstemious . . . comestibles . . . salubrity 

Explanation:

"Abstemious" means moderate and responsible in one's eating and drinking, a "comestible" is a foodstuff, and "salubrity" is promoting healthful, energetic behavior.

The use of a semicolon is a clue that the two clauses will have similar and complementary themes.

Example Question #42 : Parts Of Speech In Three Blank Texts

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

The student was intelligent, hard-working, and __________, but he was also notoriously __________; whenever a teacher asked him to perform a task, he would always __________.

Possible Answers:

assiduous . . . recalcitrant . . . object

acrimonious . . . taciturn . . . filibuster

cunning . . . retiring . . . disagree

auspicious . . . diligent . . . comply

alacritous . . . garrulous . . . refuse

Correct answer:

assiduous . . . recalcitrant . . . object

Explanation:

"Assiduous" means diligent, "recalcitrant" means resistant to outside control, and "object" (used as a verb) means to express an objection or statement of disaproval.

The first blank comes at the end of a list of positive qualities in a student, so the "assiduous" makes sense as a third item in that list. Now, the second blank comes at the end of a clause beginning with the contrast conjunction "but," so we know that it will be a negative, or at least not actively positive word. The second two blanks are clearly connected, and going through the list "recalcitrant" and "object" make the most sense. A "recalcitrant" student would specifically resist authority by "object[ing]."

Example Question #1 : Three Verbs In Three Blank Texts

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

__________ by the prospect of having to do most of the group's work for the math project, Riley __________ when asked whether he wanted to join the group, gave in after they begged, and then __________ on his commitment the next day, having decided that he would rather work alone.

Possible Answers:

Deterred . . . oscillated . . . adulterated

Abated . . . refuted . . . disparaged

Inhibited . . . vindicated . . . digressed

Dissuaded . . . appeased . . . piqued

Daunted . . . wavered . . . reneged

Correct answer:

Daunted . . . wavered . . . reneged

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need a verb that means something like discouraged. Either "daunted," "deterred," or "dissuaded" could work. For the second blank, we need a verb that means something like hesitated; either "wavered" or "oscillated" could fit. For the last blank, we need a verb that conveys how Riley went back on his initial promise; between "reneged" and "adulterated," "reneged" is the better option, so the correct answer is "daunted . . . wavered . . . reneged."

Example Question #1 : Three Verbs In Three Blank Texts

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

Matthew did not merely __________ the philosophical doctrine of logical positivism, he wholly __________ it, so much so that his friends believed his disgust __________ a kind of mental instability.

Possible Answers:

express . . . endorsed . . . indicated

question . . . interrogated . . . enlightened

despise . . . detested . . . bemoaned

consider . . . reflected on . . . begged

dislike . . . abhorred . . . evinced

Correct answer:

dislike . . . abhorred . . . evinced

Explanation:

Clearly, the relationship between the first two blanks is one of intensification. The word that goes in the first blank must be a weaker (but related) form of the word that goes in the second blank. Likewise, we can tell that Matthew's outlook is one of disgust. Therefore, the option that includes "dislike . . . abhorred" is the best for these first two blanks. (The option with "despise . . . detested" does not function for the intensification and hence is not acceptable.) The word "evinced" can mean bore evidence of, which is exactly what his disgust did—at least in his friends' eyes.

Example Question #42 : Parts Of Speech In Three Blank Texts

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

The overall plan to capture the hill was __________ because of inclement weather, which would have greatly __________ the troops’ progress up the slope; such difficulties would have endangered their lives greatly while they were __________ to enemy view during the march.

Possible Answers:

mitigated . . . prolonged . . . suspect

lauded . . . ameliorated . . . belittled

surprising . . . slacked . . . taken

"aborted . . . impeded . . . exposed

daring . . . hindered . . . open

Correct answer:

"aborted . . . impeded . . . exposed

Explanation:

Clearly, the troops did not undertake their march. The sentence indicates this by the use of the past tense in several places ("would have greatly" and "such difficulties would have endangered"). Therefore, the best option is "aborted . . . impeded . . . exposed." To "abort" something is merely to stop it—which is what they did by not marching. To "impede" means to make difficult. This describes what would happen due to the difficult ("inclement") weather. Likewise, it does make sense that such impeding would leave the people exposed for some time. The only tempting wrong option for this is likely "open." Indeed, the whole set of answers "daring . . . hindered . . . open" is likely tempting, for this would be a tempting plot and would have been hindered.  However, it is clear that the plot was not undertaken, for the sentence states that it would have been tempting and would have been dangerous, but it was not undertaken.

Example Question #1 : Three Verbs In Three Blank Texts

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

Although he was known for being quite energetic and organized, Thomas knew how to __________ in the garden. His friends were often quite amazed at his inability to __________ any tasks while among the flowers, for which he had such affection that he could barely __________ himself to productive activity.

Possible Answers:

putter . . . exhume . . . interrogate

dither . . . complete . . . rouse

wander . . . reflect on . . . recount

mitigate . . . fulminate . . . exonerate

produce . . . meander . . . misconstrue

Correct answer:

dither . . . complete . . . rouse

Explanation:

The best clue in this sentence is the opening conjunction "although." This establishes a contrast between Thomas' energetic nature and what seems to be a less-than-energetic approach to gardening. The three options that remain based on this are "dither," "putter," and "wander." This must be synonymous with the thought expressed as part of the second blank (or at least relatively synonymous). The friends marvel at the fact that he cannot do something. Not being able to complete something would indicate that Thomas does not do much work. To "dither" is to avoid making any decisive choices. Thus, the pair of "dither" and "complete" is excellent, given that a dithering person might not complete anything. While "rouse" often describes the process of making someone wake up, it can mean more generally to bring to activity out of inactivity.

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