GRE Verbal : Context Clues in Two-Blank Texts

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Context Clues In Two Blank Texts

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

Most of the attendants to the funeral were __________, which was no surprise given the __________ occasion.

Possible Answers:

scrupulous . . . redolent

abnegated . . . otiose

atheists . . . Christian

intransitive . . . beckoning

lugubrious . . . lachrymose

Correct answer:

lugubrious . . . lachrymose

Explanation:

A funeral is a very tragic occasion, one that lends itself to tears and mourning. Both "lugubrious" (sad) and "lachrymose" (given to tears) fit the conduct of a funeral.

Example Question #22 : Context Clues In Two Blank Texts

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

Alfred was a(n) ____________ a strong core curriculum in his college, believing that it was more important for undergraduates to have a broad ___________ various branches of knowledge than for them to become overly specialized in particular fields of research.

Possible Answers:

opponent of . . . aversion to

pedant of . . . love of

pedagogue of . . . fulfillment in

advocate for . . . acquaintance with

debater of . . . expertise in

Correct answer:

advocate for . . . acquaintance with

Explanation:

Probably the most tempting wrong option is the one that is quite opposite of the correct option, namely "opponent of . . . aversion to." This can seem to work, but it doesn't make sense to say that such an opponent wants people to have such an "aversion" to certain topics in opposition to being overly specialized. Instead, it makes sense to contrast such specialization to being merely acquainted with various topics (i.e. at a largely superficial level). Thus the best option is the one that says that Alfred advocated such general education.

Example Question #23 : Context Clues In Two Blank Texts

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

Although love can often begin with the feeling of _____________, this initially ____________ state gives way to a much more mundane sense of affection.

Possible Answers:

perturbed . . . agitated

celestial . . . extraterrestrial

nervousness . . . ecstatic

vigilant . . . observant

euphoria . . . intoxicating

Correct answer:

euphoria . . . intoxicating

Explanation:

The first clue that is helpful to note is the expression "a much more mundane sense of affection." The word "mundane" basically can be translated as down to earth. The Latin roots for mundane indicated matters that pertained to the world, in contrast to the heavens (or, as we would say, "outer space"). This question has nothing to do with such celestial or extraterrestrial matters. Instead, "mundane" merely means subdued or normal. The idea is that love can start with feelings that are "out of this world"—or, very intense. Hence, the synonym couplet euphoria . . . intoxicating works very well for this question, as it indicates a state of mind that is very elevated and intense.

Example Question #24 : Context Clues In Two Blank Texts

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

The young engineer’s judgments were always marked with noticeable ___________, for he hated to make any decision that smacked of __________.

Possible Answers:

calculation . . . ignorance

specificity . . . imprecision

incomprehension . . . delectation

effusiveness . . . elegance

arrogance . . . foolishness

Correct answer:

specificity . . . imprecision

Explanation:

This sentence clearly indicates an opposition between the two blanks. Whenever something "smacks" of something, it seems to indicate that thing in an oblique or indirect manner. Now, if you do not know the vocabulary do not be tricked.  Delectation refers to someone's pleasure in something. This does not make any sense. Someone (or something) is "effusive" when it is very abundant and pours out without much reservation. (For example, "effusive praise" is praise that seemingly does not end and is likely excessive.)  The only pair of opposites in presented are "specificity" and "imprecision." To be "imprecise" is quite the opposite of being specific. Hence, this is an excellent pair of antonyms.

Example Question #25 : Context Clues In Two Blank Texts

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

In his old age, the French philosopher Jacques Maritain decided that he should express himself in a(n) ___________ manner, discussing openly a number of topics about which he would have been more _____________ in his youth.

Possible Answers:

untrammeled . . . reserved

popular . . . scholarly

thunderous . . . inaudible

arrogant . . . humble

felicitous . . . taciturn

Correct answer:

untrammeled . . . reserved

Explanation:

The best hint for this question is the small expression at the beginning of the closing subordinate clause—"discussing openly." The idea is that Maritain would discuss things in an "unfettered" manner. This is the meaning of the word "untrammeled." In contrast to being open in this manner, someone can be "reserved." When we are reserved with our words, we do not express our ideas in detail, and we avoid certain aspects of the topic being discussed. Reservation does not always indicate being frightened or deceptive. It is possible to be reserved out of a good intention.

Example Question #26 : Context Clues In Two Blank Texts

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

After years of a(n) _____________ lifestyle, the old man’s body was battered by his _____________ manner of living.

Possible Answers:

delicate . . . frail

debauched . . . dissolute

ailing . . . infected

foolish . . . intoxicated

elderly . . . decrepit

Correct answer:

debauched . . . dissolute

Explanation:

Clearly, for this question you are looking for a pair of synonyms. Almost every option has such a pairing, so be careful! Clearly, the lifestyle in question is an unhealthy one. The old man's unhealthy manner of living led him to have a body that was battered and ruined. Many of these options describe aging and being ill. Being old or ill is not really what we are looking for. We are looking for something that could be the cause of being ill in one's old age. A bad lifestyle, such as one that is debauched, could lead to this. Often, the word has the connotation of a moral failing. This is true, but it can generally describe how we live when we chase after all kinds of sensual pleasures. This option pairs well with "dissolute," which describes the kind of living one has when he or she has a life that totally falls apart with regard to behavior. (Hence, you can see how "dissolute", though a moral term, is related to "dissolve".)

Example Question #24 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Two Blank Texts

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

In surprising contrast to her occasionally ___________ actions, Sandy actually had a quite _____________ temperament that many found to be quite agreeable.

Possible Answers:

tempestuous . . . pacific

haughty . . . amicable

remarkable . . . plain

boisterous . . . reverent

foolish . . . astute

Correct answer:

tempestuous . . . pacific

Explanation:

This sentence clearly needs a pair of antonyms, given the explicit hint that Sandy's actions are being contrasted to her general temperament. Only two pairs of true opposites are given as options.  However, remarkable . . . plain is really not a sensible option. This doesn't make much sense in the sentence itself. "Tempestuous" and "pacific" work well enough. Whenever something (or someone) is "tempestuous," it is wild and stormy. (Think of the word "tempest," which is obviously related to "tempestuous.") The word "pacific" comes from the Latin "pax," meaning peace.  Thus, "pacific" is an adjective describing something peaceful—a temperament quite the opposite to a tempestuous one.

Example Question #23 : Context Clues In Two Blank Texts

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

Salted caramels might not bring ____________ to everyone, but for Gemma, they were one of life’s most ____________ joys.

Possible Answers:

yields . . . cloying

sickness . . . fattening

delectation . . . magnificent

incredulity . . . hues

remembrances . . . amiable

Correct answer:

delectation . . . magnificent

Explanation:

The clear parallel in this question is between the first blank and the word "joy" in the second half of the sentence. It is hinted that caramels might not bring joy to everyone, but Gemma seems to have found them to be a great joy. The word "delectation" indicates such delight or pleasure. Indeed, you likely can see how the word is related to "delight." There are minor alterations in the structure of the word, but both have the same "delec-" structure, though in "delight" there are obvious alterations. Instead of "great" the word "magnificent" is quite excellent for our purposes.

Example Question #24 : Two Blank Texts

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

Laura was angered when Kenneth _____________ their agreement; however, he was somewhat justified, for the agreement was merely ______________ and not explicitly recorded.

Possible Answers:

breached . . . tacit

debated . . . amiable

overturned . . . theoretical

deduced . . . civil

contemplated . . . forceful

Correct answer:

breached . . . tacit

Explanation:

The second blank is likely the easier one for you to determine. Clearly it is being opposed to the idea of being explicitly recorded. Apparently, the agreement was "unspoken" (and "unwritten"). A tacit agreement is just such an agreement. It comes from the Latin for silent. A person who is taciturn is someone who has a silent disposition of character. Apparently Kenneth has broken the agreement with Laura. Hence, the word breached is a good option, particularly given the fact that this word does not merely mean "to break" but also implies that what is broken is an agreement or a law of some sort.

Example Question #21 : Context Clues In Two Blank Texts

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

Although the student thought the remark was quite _____________, the teacher had found the remark to be wholly ______________.

Possible Answers:

licit . . . irritating

intriguing . . . surprising

astonishing . . . spectacular

executive . . . vexing

apposite . . . fatuous

Correct answer:

apposite . . . fatuous

Explanation:

For this sentence, pay heed to the logic of the general structure. There is an opposition being proposed between the student's opinion and that of the teacher regarding the remark made. This opposition is indicated by the word "although" at the very beginning of the sentence. The only pair of words that provides such an opposition is that of "apposite" and "fatuous." Something that is "apposite" is appropriate and insightful. Something that is "fatuous" is foolish and not applicable to a given situation. It seems that the teacher found the remark to be stupid in this manner of speaking.

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