GRE Verbal : Three Verbs in Three-Blank Texts

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #11 : Three Verbs In Three Blank Texts

In the past, it was normal to __________ elders in a society, for such long-lived people had not only experienced many difficulties but also often had successfully __________ them to continue __________ for many years later, thus serving as exemplars of virtue and success for the broader community.

Possible Answers:

accept . . . confronted . . . functioning

care for . . . outlasted . . . persisting

endorse . . . survived . . . operating

denigrate . . . faced . . . working

venerate . . . overcome . . . flourishing

Correct answer:

venerate . . . overcome . . . flourishing

Explanation:

It is important to note that the elders in question were able to serve as examples of virtue and success. This means that they not only succeeded in overcoming their difficulties but likely managed to do very well in life after that. Hence, the best pair for the second and third blanks are "overcome" and "flourishing." This, of course, indicates that they were well respected. To "venerate" someone is to hold him or her in high esteem. Often related words are used in the context of religion, as when someone "venerates" a statue.

Example Question #12 : Three Verbs In Three Blank Texts

The enigmatic question __________ all of the students. As they sat trying to__________ its opaque meaning, they became increasingly frustrated as they failed in every attempt to __________ its meaning.

Possible Answers:

confounded . . . unravel . . . decrypt

tested . . . inquire . . . illustrate

quizzed . . . scrutinize . . . recount

forestalled . . . investigate . . . elucidate

assaulted . . . placate . . . illuminate

Correct answer:

confounded . . . unravel . . . decrypt

Explanation:

The word "enigmatic" describes something that is mysterious or difficult to understand or interpret. The students were unable to decipher its meaning. To "unravel" something can also mean to explain that thing. (This meaning of the word is clearly a metaphorical extension of its more literal meaning.) To "decrypt" is quite akin to "decipher," for both words deal with translating something out of an encoded form. (To "encrypt" a message is to encode it.) Finally, insofar as they could not solve this problem, they were defeated (so to speak) in finding their answer. To "confound" someone can mean to frustrate him or her. It can also mean to defeat that person, preventing him or her from reaching a given objective.

Example Question #11 : Three Verbs In Three Blank Texts

It can take years to __________ oneself to a new culture. This is best done by __________ in the day-to-day life of the people as well as by carefully __________ one's own historical and social self-awareness.

Possible Answers:

placate . . . working . . . acclimating

niggle . . . employing . . . litigating

assimilate . . . engaging . . . investigating

express . . . laboring . . . recounting

feign . . . wending . . . observing

Correct answer:

assimilate . . . engaging . . . investigating

Explanation:

The implication in this sentence is that the people being considered are trying to enter into culture that is not their own. Thus, they are trying to become acclimated or accustomed to this new way of life. To become "assimilated" means both to understand something (e.g. to assimilate knowledge in a given subject) as well as to become similar to something else. In this latter sense, we can see how a person would become "assimilated" to the norms of a given foreign culture over time. The second sentence indicates that this is best done by taking part in day-to-day life as well as by investigating the self-awareness of the given culture. While one might think that "working" or "laboring" are particularly good answers, they are too specific. "Engaging" works best, as it means more broadly to take part or participate.

Example Question #14 : Three Verbs In Three Blank Texts

Certain individuals have such weakly developed personalities that they are unable to __________ themselves to certain, firm decisions. Such persons can endlessly __________ between potential options, never settling on one of the choices under consideration. This can ultimately create a situation in which all potential options completely __________.

Possible Answers:

fixate . . . oscillate . . . disappear

attach . . . meander . . . precipitate

affix . . . hesitate . . . splinter

consign . . . vacillate . . . evaporate

reflect . . . inquire . . . disintegrate

Correct answer:

consign . . . vacillate . . . evaporate

Explanation:

The major problem with the people mentioned in this sentence is that they are unable to give a firm and fixed commitment to the tasks they need to undertake. To "consign" oneself to something is to do just that—as opposed to making a less firm declaration of commitment. To "vacillate" means precisely to waver between options in the manner described in the sentence, so it is by far the easiest blank of the three to fill in. Finally, although we use "evaporate" to describe a physical process involving liquids and gasses, the term can also have the extended meaning of to disappear from existence entirely. This latter meaning is what is indicated in this sentence.

 

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