GRE Verbal : Context Clues in Two-Blank Texts

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Two Blank Texts

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

After eating five pieces of pizza, Scott was quite __________, though he had been quite __________ before the soporific meal.

Possible Answers:

sick . . . starving

lethargic . . . ebullient

sated . . . ravenous

bloated . . . svelte

gluttonous . . . virtuous

Correct answer:

lethargic . . . ebullient

Explanation:

The key word in this sentence is the rather difficult vocabulary item, "soporific". This word means sleep-inducing. Without knowing this, several options might be rather tempting; however, if you know this, you can then guess the first blank very well. Scott must have felt tired—and this is well expressed by "lethargic," which means sluggish. In contrast to such sluggishness, "ebullience" is the state of being energetic—almost "bubbly," metaphorically speaking.

Example Question #11 : Two Blank Texts

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

Although they had different temperaments, Laura and Paula were both quite __________ in their respective emotional states; Paula was almost always a Pollyanna, while Laura was given to being __________.

Possible Answers:

belittling . . . laconic

extreme . . . despondent

tepid . . . enraged

unstable . . . irascible

unchanging . . . vexed 

Correct answer:

extreme . . . despondent

Explanation:

The word “Pollyanna” is derived from a story about a character (named Pollyanna) who is overly positive about reality, seeing everything in positive terms and being optimistic almost to a fault. The implication here is that Paula is very positive—having a strong emotional bent that way. In contrast to this, being “despondent” means being hopeless, which works well to show Laura’s different temperament. Both of these women, being of strong emotions, could be said to have “extreme” emotions.

Example Question #11 : Two Blank Texts

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

Although many people believed that Immanuel was a daring thinker who readily changed his positions, his thought was in fact quite __________, so much so that he rarely ever __________ his thought after arriving at a given conclusion.

Possible Answers:

improvised . . . feigned 

florid . . . buttressed

viscous . . . improved

ossified . . . altered

outmoded . . . affected

Correct answer:

ossified . . . altered

Explanation:

The construction "although . . . in fact" lets us know that this sentence expresses a contrast. Most people believed that Immanuel was daring. In contrast to this, the acceptable answers are "ossified" and (perhaps) "outmoded." The former means having become hardened or stagnant. It comes from the root words for "bone." Hence, "ossified" ideas are ones that have hardened like bones. The option "outmoded" means out of date. This is not as good as "ossified," which directly contrasts the fluidity of changing positions. For the second blank, "altered" (meaning changed) works well enough.

Example Question #11 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Two Blank Texts

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

Nigel tended to __________ on the details of his projects, heeding even the most __________ of points, often wasting much time on such unimportant matters.

Possible Answers:

aggrandize . . . petulant

fixate . . . trivial 

vacillate . . . jejune

wax . . . belittled 

bemoan . . . ossified

Correct answer:

fixate . . . trivial 

Explanation:

The best clue in this sentence is "often wasting time on such unimportant matters." Thus, the second blank needs to be either "trivial" (meaning unimportant) or, perhaps, "jejune" (meaning superficial or uninteresting). The first blank, though, has to describe such an action of heeding trivial details to the point of wasting time. To "vacillate" is to go back and forth between two options; however, the sentence is saying something a bit different. Nigel seems to pay too much attention to the details. Thus, he fixates on them, becoming overly attached to them while he heeds them.

Example Question #11 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Two Blank Texts

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

Although the independent film script was __________, it lacked the necessary __________ to be produced. 

Possible Answers:

stellar . . . budget

impetuous . . . popularity

subversive . . . criticism

creative . . . ubiquity

momentous . . . integrity

Correct answer:

stellar . . . budget

Explanation:

In order for a film to be made, it needs sufficient funding or budget. Even if the script is stellar (high-quality), it can't be produced without the necessary money.

Example Question #12 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Two Blank Texts

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

It became clear to John that his time was __________; he finally realized how __________ his life was.

Possible Answers:

eternal . . . corpulent

mordant . . . illusory

subjective . . . adjuvant

finite . . . ephemeral

archaic . . . lachrymose

Correct answer:

finite . . . ephemeral

Explanation:

"Finite" and "ephemeral" are synonyms meaning temporary or limited. So, if John's time is finite, then his life is also ephemeral.

Example Question #13 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Two Blank Texts

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

Never before had such a _________ candidate been selected to such a _________ position.  

Possible Answers:

novice . . . esteemed

nepotistic . . . aviary

oblivious . . . distracted

synthetic . . . repetitive

superfluous . . . officious

Correct answer:

novice . . . esteemed

Explanation:

Generally speaking, an "esteemed" position is one that requires a high level of experience or qualification, which contrasts with the status of a "novice." Thus it makes sense that such a case could be unprecedented.

Example Question #1205 : Text Completion

Choose the word or word set which best completes the following sentence.

Every participant in the raffle felt __________, but no one was __________ they would win.

Possible Answers:

incredulous . . . affable

hopeful . . . assuming

impassive . . . surly

fortunate . . . powerless

benighted . . . unbesmirched

Correct answer:

hopeful . . . assuming

Explanation:

In a raffle, it's common for contestants to be "hopeful" that they will win, but at the same time no one "assumes" or expects that they will, given the low probability of a win. "Fortunate" might work for the first word, but "powerless" does not make sense as the second. The rest of the words are not contextually relevant to this sentence.

Example Question #14 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Two Blank Texts

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

Living in the apartment building was __________, but the residents were so __________ that it wasn't an issue.

Possible Answers:

exorbitant . . . affluent

risible . . . quaint

accommodating . . . acrimonious

enticing . . . oblique

tortuous . . . depressed

Correct answer:

exorbitant . . . affluent

Explanation:

"Exorbitant" means expensive, and "affluent" means wealthy. So, the following statement is true: "Living in the apartment building was expensive, but the residents were so wealthy that this wasn't an issue."

Example Question #15 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Two Blank Texts

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

Although Debra was a __________ cellist, she was constantly __________ preceding her performances.

Possible Answers:

virtuoso . . . tremulous

aberrant . . . daring

avaricious . . . morbid

limpid . . . musical

abstruse . . . irreverent

Correct answer:

virtuoso . . . tremulous

Explanation:

A virtuoso musician is one of great ability and talent, which contrasts with the feeling of tremulousness (or nervousness) that Debra feels leading up to her performances.  

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